After a long day of trekking through snow and slush, there’s nothing better than curling up at home with a hot drink. But these five beverages are more than just cozy – they contain powerful nutrients, too.
Chili Hot Chocolate
Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants, which have been found to be more abundant in chocolate than in red wine or even tea. Adding cayenne to this classic drink will not only add spice, but may also boost the absorption of vitamins A and C.
• 2 cups organic whole milk (or almond milk)
• ½ tsp vanilla extract
• ½ tsp cinnamon
• ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
• 2 Tbsp dark or bittersweet chocolate, grated
In a small saucepan, heat milk over medium heat until warmed through. Add vanilla, cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Stir in the chocolate until melted. Divide among two mugs.
Good news: there is a caffeine-free, non-acidic alternative to that cup of java. It is commonly made from carob, barley or chicory, and can be flavored using fruit, nuts and spices, and is said to have a similar taste to real coffee. Herbal coffee contains antioxidants, prebiotics for gut health, and fiber. Be sure to look for an organic brand!
Spiced Apple Cider
All the spices used here are abundant in antioxidants. The ginger may help boost your immune system and decrease inflammation while the cinnamon may help to control blood sugar.
• 4 cups freshly made apple juice (4-6 apples, depending on the juicer)
• 5 whole cloves
• 4 cinnamon sticks
• 4 whole cardamom pods
• 2 Chinese star anise
• 1-inch piece of fresh ginger
• ½ teaspoon fresh lemon zest
• ½ orange, thinly sliced
Pour apple juice into a medium saucepan. Add remaining ingredients, cover, and heat over a medium-low flame for 20 minutes, or just until the liquid heats through (around 170F or so). Strain and divide among 4 mugs.
Hot Spiced Wine
Also known as mulled wine, this is a delicious cold-weather beverage consumed all over the world. The red wine contains polyphenols, specifically reservatrol, which helps to fight free radicals in the body and increase good cholesterol. There are also procyanidins, antioxidants which are known to reduce blood pressure. Remember to enjoy this heart-healthy beverage in moderation!
Ginger tea is sold dried and packaged in commercial tea bags, but is actually a breeze to make at home. Simply place two slices (about ½-inch thick) of fresh gingerroot in a mug, cover with 8 oz hot water, and allow to steep for 10 minutes. For a stronger flavor, try using 1 Tbsp grated ginger in a tea ball or disposable tea bag. In addition to being an anecdotal cold remedy, ginger tea may reduce symptoms of nausea or upset stomach. A spritz of lemon juice or a cinnamon stick make great accompaniments to homemade ginger tea.