According to latest science, the benefits of hot cocoa likely outweigh the potential weight gain. Recent research published in The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that a mug of hot cocoa had nearly twice the antioxidants as a glass of red wine and up to three times the antioxidants as a cup of green tea. Compared to black tea, cocoa had up to five times the concentration of antioxidants.
“The results of this Cornell University study corroborate earlier research showing the extensive health benefits of cocoa,” says Harvard nutritionist and epidemiologist Eric Ding, Ph.D. Dr. Ding was lead researcher of a landmark Journal of Nutrition meta-analysis on cocoa’s multiple benefits for cardiovascular and metabolic health. The study incorporated 24 papers with 1106 participants.
“Cocoa flavonoids are protective against heart disease,” says Dr. Ding. “We’ve found that they lower blood pressure, lower bad LDL, raise good HDL, improve insulin sensitivity, improve blood flow and, in a long term study, lower the risk of heart disease.”
According to Dr. Ding’s analysis, to achieve significant health benefits, the therapeutic dosage of cocoa flavonoids is around 400 to 500 mg/day, or the equivalent of 33 bars of milk chocolate or 8 bars (10 oz.) of dark chocolate.
“While it may work on paper, common sense tells us that no one should consume that much hot cocoa every day—with all the calories, fat and sugar.”
Cocoa supplements with high flavonoid content offer the health benefits while avoiding the calories, fat and sugar. Washing down a good cocoa supplement with a cup of hot cocoa may be the best of all options this winter.