With the cold winter days, we all need all little something to keep us warm. What better than a delicious cup of homemade hot cocoa packed with healthful benefits? I thought you might enjoy this so I’m sharing one of my favorite recipes with you along with some of the health properties of the ingredients:

Ingredients:
-Whole milk (can be substitited by almond, soy or coconut milk for a vegan version)
-Unsweetened cocoa powder
-Brown sugar
-Cinnamon sticks
-Star anise seeds
-Cloves

Health Benefits:
-Cocoa: Is packed with flavonoids which help prevent the clogging of arteries by fatty substances. It also helps prevent blood clotting which can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.

-Cinnamon: This spice is really good for the digestive system and is well known for its carminative (gas reliever) properties. It is also well known for its anti-inflammatory properties which may be helpful in relieving joint pain and stiffness as well as menstrual cramps.

Star anise: Helps with indigestion, especially when it is caused by nerves.

Cloves: In Asian medicine, cloves are thought to be among the spices that promote energy circulation and increase metabolic rate. They are highly recommended in Ayurvedic medicine to warm you up on cold winter days.

Directions:
-Bring the milk and spices to simmer in a heavy large saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves.
-Remove from heat, cover, and let steep 20 minutes.
-Add cocoa powder.
-Bring to simmer, whisking until blended.

Strain hot chocolate and discard spices.
Pour into individual mugs

Keep warm and enjoy!

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Source: “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth” by Jonny Bowden

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