As a child, cocoa wasn’t something we were allowed every day, so those times we did make it were extra delightful. Usually it was a snowy day when my mom would make cocoa as a special treat. Trying not to burn our tongues, we would push the marshmallows around the cup until they melted ever so slightly before taking our first sip. Naturally, the debate of the right kind (big ones or the minis) of marshmallows — and how many were too many per cup — would erupt. But after that first sip, the room would fall quiet as we savored the rich, exceptional flavor. What a happy memory. (Try making your own homemade marshmallows!)
Fond memories aside, cocoa has several beneficial effects on cardiovascular health, such as lowering of blood pressure, and improving vascular function. In fact, chocolate is a potent antioxidant, and is rich in minerals such as magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, copper and manganese. Bonus: The serotonin found in dark chocolate acts as an antidepressant. Wow, my new favorite “superfood!”
I love a good mug of hot cocoa, but also like using unsweetened cocoa in other ways.
I think it’s important to treat myself to something special every now and then. Just like any treat, chocolate should be consumed in moderation. One to two ounces of dark chocolate a day is all that’s needed to feel like I’ve enjoyed a special indulgence.
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