Hot chocolate is a hot beverage that commonly consists of chocolate, heated milk, cocoa powder and sugar. It is made from chocolate paste or shavings and is different than the powder that gets dissolved in water. It dates back to Mayan people some 2,000 years ago and it has been introduced to the New World and Europe from Mexico. In the past, it has been used to treat various stomach problems.
Hot chocolate has very powerful antioxidant properties and
reduces the risk of various heart diseases. It contains much more antioxidants
than green tea or red wine. The amount of antioxidants gets increased when the
beverage is heated. Since cocoa is abundant in flavonoids, it is very
beneficial for arterial health, improved blood flow and the functioning of
endothelial cells found in the blood vessels.
Some other benefits that flavonoids provide include improved dilation of blood vessels, prevention of platelets clustering and the damage caused by the free radicals. Flavonoids are also beneficial in balancing the levels of eicosanoids and keeping the overall cardiovascular health in good shape.
The most benefits of cacao can be found in its raw form, and
one should avoid its highly processed forms. Its contents of antioxidants is
multiple times more than that of green tea and red wine. In its raw form, cocoa
is also very rich in sulphur and magnesium.
That makes it very important in maintaining liver and pancreas health and strengthening the nails and bones. Bitter dark cocoa powder is the best possible option and in can be purchased in various shops. It should be consumed moderately since overconsumption may cause the human body to not hold onto calcium well and increase the chance of the development of osteoporosis. Phenylethylamine, which is commonly found in the cocoa, enhances the mood and makes one feel relaxed due to the influence cocoa has on theta brain waves. Throughout the history cocoa has been used for the treatment of bronchitis and insect bites.
Hot chocolate may also have some negative effects but most of them can be associated with higher content of sugar and fat that may be present in the beverage. Due to these ingredients one may have certain health risks and dental problems. Processed cocoa powder is abundant in additional sweeteners which may be harmful, and sometimes it may also contain certain hydrogenated fats and oils. Small amounts of caffeine found in the hot chocolate can also be the cause of certain health concerns.