Technically, any liquid intended for drinking is a beverage so named by a word derived from French and Latin verbs meaning ‘to drink.’ Healthy beverages are beverages with health benefits that attribute by its nutritional value. The use of healthy beverage for promoting health and relieving symptom is as old as the practice of medicine.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Hot Chocolate as a Health Drinks

There is a new reason to enjoy hot cocoa on a cold winter's night in front of a cozy fire. Consider it a health drink. Despite its relatively high sugar and saturated fat content chocolate is a rich source of antioxidants.

Other than reduce oxidization of LDL they also prevent cancer, food scientists say.

The reason that cocoa leads the other drinks is its high content of compounds called phenolic phytochemicals, or flavonoids, indicating the presence of known antioxidants that can stave off cancer, cardiovascular disease and other ailments.

Cocoa contains the flavonoids epicatechin and catechins as well as the larger oligomeric flavanols procyanadins.

Apart from cocoa and chocolate, flavanols are also found in a number of other foods and drinks such as apricots, apples, tea and red wines.

Comparing the chemical anti-cancer activity in beverages known to contain antioxidants, they have found that cocoa has nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine and up to three times those found in green tea.

The scientists discovered 611 milligrams of the phenolic compound gallic acid equivalents (GAE) and 564 milligrams of the flavonoid epicatechin equivalents (ECE) in a single serving of cocoa. Examining a glass of red wine, the researchers found 340 milligrams of GAE and 163 milligrams of ECE.

In a cup of green tea, they found 165 milligrams of GAE and 47 milligrams of ECE. When the scientist compared one serving of each beverage, the cocoa turned out to be the highest in antioxidant activity.

Phenols in milk chocolate are also higher than that in black and green tea.

A cup of hot chocolate can contain approximately 150 mg of phenolic compounds. And a piece of milk chocolate bar provides almost 200 mg.

Phenolic compounds protect plants against insects and pathogens, and they remain active even after food processing.

Some other nutrients in chocolate include magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, iron, zinc, copper and manganese.

The Aztec and Mayans believed that their cocoa drink had a positive health benefit and there have been many documented uses of cocoa as a medicine over the centuries.

Chocolate was a popular as a drink before it was eaten as candy. In the mid 1600s - chocolate was a fashionable English beverage. Drinking chocolate was touted as being wholesome for body and mind, and it was often consumed for medicinal purposes.
Hot Chocolate as a Health Drinks

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