HEALTHY HOLIDAYS: The Ultimate Hot Cocoa

Did someone say hot cocoa? My mouth is watering already. Coming from a world of shameful eating, I'm a big believer in enjoying the luxuries of life with a healthy twist. And for the holidays, there's no better recipe than a healthy hot cocoa!


Hand around a mug with healthy hot chocolate hot cocoa

Cocoa alone is actually super medicinal. Fun fact? It attaches to the same endocannabinoid system as marijuana (1). This system is newly recognized as an important modulatory system for multiple areas of the body including the brain and endocrine system. Most of us know that this system is beneficial for calming anxiety and epilepsy...but did you know that the endocannabinoid system is being shown to help regulate hunger cues, reduce weight, and decrease cardiovascular risk for obese patients? Recent research is also gaining insight into the importance of the endocannabinoid system in type 2 diabetes mellitus, neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, and stroke (2). All to say, we LOVE cocoa.


As for the added sugar...well... we have a healthy substitute for that: Stevia. Stevia is 100-300 times sweeter than table sugar. Used in the right proportions, it's magical (4)! This high potency natural sweetener comes from the stevia plant and has actually been shown to decrease systolic blood pressure by an average of 6.32 mmHg (3). A little bit goes a long way so investing in a good quality stevia without additives will pay off. My personal favorite is Pyure Organic Stevia. A small dash is all you need to sweeten something right up with no concerns of additives or lactose derivatives.


As for the added milk, I'd highly suggest either full fat coconut milk from the can if you are Blood Type O or organic unsweetened soy milk if you are Blood Type A. To learn more about the blood type diet, check out this book. And for all of us who have always been told that soy is "bad"...let's take a look at the research:


Soy is a high protein food with low cholesterol. It has been shown to be improve cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugars, and menopausal symptoms (5, 6, 7) . Whereas dairy is now being shown to correlate with breast cancer, replacing with organic soy has been linked to lowering the risk of breast and endometrial cancers (8,9,10, 11). Keep in mind that pre-puberty, soy may enhance the likelihood of endometriosis however, once the menses begins, the phytoestrogens in soy actually decrease lesions and inflammation (12, 13). Because soy is one of the most heavily pesticide sprayed crops, I ONLY recommend organic. My personal favorite is Silk Unsweetened Organic Soy Milk.


For added beauty, try collagen peptides in your hot chocolate! For added immune boosting, add a powdered mushroom blend! You won't even notice the difference in taste, promise.


And now...what you've all been waiting for...drumroll please...


THE ULTIMATE HOT COCOA RECIPE (Serving size: 1):

Directions: Blend all together using a frother or a blender. Pour into your favorite holiday mug and enjoy every sip!


Until next time,

Dr. Chelsea Leander ND, RH (AHG)

References:

  1. James JS. Marijuana and chocolate. AIDS Treat News. 1996;(No 257):3-4.

  2. Komorowski J, Stepień H. Rola układu endokannabinoidowego w regulacji czynności dokrewnej i kontroli równowagi energetycznej człowieka [The role of the endocannabinoid system in the regulation of endocrine function and in the control of energy balance in humans]. Postepy Hig Med Dosw (Online). 2007;61:99-105.

  3. Bundgaard Anker CC, Rafiq S, Jeppesen PB. Effect of Steviol Glycosides on Human Health with Emphasis on Type 2 Diabetic Biomarkers: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Nutrients. 2019;11(9):1965. Published 2019 Aug 21. doi:10.3390/nu11091965

  4. Goyal, S. K., Samsher, & Goyal, R. K. (2010). Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) a bio-sweetener: a review. International journal of food sciences and nutrition, 61(1), 1-10.

  5. Li, W., Ruan, W., Peng, Y., & Wang, D. (2018). Soy and the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus: A systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. Diabetes research and clinical practice, 137, 190-199.

  6. Vincent, A., & Fitzpatrick, L. A. (2000, November). Soy isoflavones: are they useful in menopause?. In Mayo Clinic Proceedings (Vol. 75, No. 11, pp. 1174-1184). Elsevier.

  7. Rivas, M., Garay, R. P., Escanero, J. F., Cia Jr, P., Cia, P., & Alda, J. O. (2002). Soy milk lowers blood pressure in men and women with mild to moderate essential hypertension. The Journal of nutrition, 132(7), 1900-1902.

  8. Trock, B. J., Hilakivi-Clarke, L., & Clarke, R. (2006). Meta-analysis of soy intake and breast cancer risk. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 98(7), 459-471.

  9. Wei, Y., Lv, J., Guo, Y., Bian, Z., Gao, M., Du, H., ... & Li, L. (2020). Soy intake and breast cancer risk: A prospective study of 300,000 Chinese women and a dose–response meta-analysis. European journal of epidemiology, 35(6), 567-578.

  10. Fraser, G. E., Jaceldo-Siegl, K., Orlich, M., Mashchak, A., Sirirat, R., & Knutsen, S. (2020). Dairy, soy, and risk of breast cancer: those confounded milks. International journal of epidemiology, 49(5), 1526-1537.

  11. Zhong, X. S., Ge, J., Chen, S. W., Xiong, Y. Q., Ma, S. J., & Chen, Q. (2018). Association between dietary isoflavones in soy and legumes and endometrial cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 118(4), 637-651.

  12. Mvondo, M. A., Ekenfack, J. D., Minko Essono, S., Saah Namekong, H., Awounfack, C. F., Laschke, M. W., & Njamen, D. (2019). Soy intake since the prepubertal age may contribute to the pathogenesis of endometriosis in adulthood. Journal of medicinal food, 22(6), 631-638.

  13. Bartiromo, L., Schimberni, M., Villanacci, R., Ottolina, J., Dolci, C., Salmeri, N., ... & Candiani, M. (2021). Endometriosis and Phytoestrogens: Friends or Foes? A Systematic Review. Nutrients, 13(8), 2532.


Disclaimer:


This information is generalized and intended for educational purposes only. Due to potential individual contraindications, please see your primary care provider before implementing any strategies in these posts.

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