Hot chocolate can be good for the brain, thanks to its flavanoid content. Flavanoids are plant compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They have been shown to improve blood flow to the brain, which can boost cognitive function and protect against age-related decline.
One study found that drinking two cups of hot chocolate per day for two weeks improved blood flow to the brain by 10%. Another study found that people who consumed flavanoid-rich cocoa powder for five days had better memory and attention than those who did not.
Flavanoids may also help to protect against Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. One study found that people who ate the most chocolate were 32% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who ate the least.
Of course, not all hot chocolate is created equal. To maximize the brain benefits, look for hot chocolate made with dark chocolate, which contains more flavanoids than milk chocolate. You can also add your own flavanoid-rich ingredients to your hot chocolate, such as cinnamon, ginger, or turmeric.
Here is a recipe for a brain-boosting hot chocolate:
- 1 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips (at least 74% cacao)
- 3 tablespoons raw cocoa powder
- 1-2 tablespoons coconut sugar (sweeten to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Small pinch sea salt
- Heat the almond or coconut milk in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Once the milk is hot, add the dark chocolate chips, cocoa powder, coconut sugar, vanilla extract, and salt.
- Whisk until the chocolate chips are melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Pour the hot chocolate into a mug and enjoy!
You can also add other brain-boosting ingredients to your hot chocolate, such as cinnamon, ginger, or turmeric. Just add a dash of your desired spice to the saucepan along with the other ingredients.
Enjoy your brain-boosting hot chocolate!