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By now, you may be familiar with cocoa’s versatility.
Cocoa, which is harvested from the plant of the same name, refers to roasted
cacao or cocoa beans that are ground into a powder where most of the fat has
been removed.[i]
Throughout the years, it has become a staple ingredient in sweet treats, and
has been featured in beverages like hot cocoa.

While you can buy cocoa powdered drinks from groceries or pre-blended in coffee shops,
these do not compare to the satisfaction and flavor that you get when you make
hot cocoa from scratch, just like in this creamy keto hot cocoa recipe. Using
real ingredients, instead of artificial substances, can help deliver important
benefits and warm you up whenever the weather gets too cold.

Ingredients:

1 cup organic full fat coconut milk

1 cup water

1 heaping tablespoon organic raw cacao powder

1/2 teaspoon organic ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon Dr.
Mercola’s Vanilla Extract

1/2 teaspoon Manuka honey or Dr. Mercola’s Organic Honey

1 teaspoon Dr. Mercola’s MCT oil

1 teaspoon monk fruit or Luo Han Guo, optional

Procedure:

1. Combine
all ingredients in a blender and blend for three minutes.

2. Place
cocoa mixture in a small saucepan and warm the mixture over low heat. Be sure
to whisk often to ensure all the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.

3. If
you’d like to, add coconut whipped cream or cacao nibs.

This
Keto Hot Cocoa Recipe Is Unlike Any Drink You’ve Tried Before

Cocoa beans and hot cocoa have gone a long way
since their supposed origin in Mexico, where Mayans drank a concoction made
from ground up cocoa seeds combined with water, cornmeal and chili peppers as
early as 500 B.C. The early 1500s and
1700s saw the travel of cocoa beans and chocolate drink-making tools to places
like Spain and London.[ii]

Nowadays, hot cocoa is associated with warm
fireplaces and cozy sweaters, as this beverage gets very popular during the fall
or winter to combat the cold weather. Fortunately, hot cocoa, when done right
and made with the correct ingredients, can provide vital health benefits that
may improve overall health and well-being. Here are some reasons why this keto
hot cocoa is a valuable addition to your arsenal.

What Are
Cacao’s Health Benefits?

Organic raw cacao powder comes with various health
benefits, which are linked to the naturally occurring compounds found in the
cacao bean:

·
Epicatechin:
This flavonoid is said to provide both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
properties and may assist with shielding nerve cells from possible damage.

·
Resveratrol:
It’s known as a powerful antioxidant that may fight free radicals in the
body and deliver anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic properties. Resveratrol
was also proven to promote neuroprotective effects and has the ability to cross
the blood-brain barrier, allowing it to moderate inflammation in the central
nervous system (CNS). This action is crucial because CNS inflammation may play
a major role in the onset of neurodegenerative diseases.

Cacao beans are also home to the following:

·
Healthy fats

·
Other antioxidants

·
Nitrogenous compounds like proteins,
methylxanthines theobromine and caffeine

·
Minerals like potassium, phosphorus, copper,
iron, zinc and magnesium

·
Valeric acid, which acts as a stress reducer
despite the presence of stimulants

Furthermore, several studies have
confirmed that cacao may provide benefits to your heart, blood vessels, brain
and nervous system, and help combat diabetes and other diseases rooted in
inflammation. Other possible benefits of cacao include:

Anticarcinogenic properties[iii]

Antithrombotic properties[iv]
that may help improve endothelial function[v]

Antiobesity effects, mainly due to the polyphenols’
potential ability to suppress fatty acid synthesis, while stimulating cell
energy expenditure in the mitochondria[vi]

Improvement of gastrointestinal flora[vii]

Improvement of exercise endurance[viii]

Reduction of stress hormones

Neuroprotective benefits and decreased Alzheimer’s
disease risk[ix]

Protection against preeclampsia in pregnant women[x]

How to Pick High-Quality
Cacao

When buying raw cacao, look for a product with
higher amounts of cacao and lower sugar content. In general, the darker the
chocolate, the higher the cacao content. Aim for products with a cacao
percentage of 70 percent or higher.

Ultimately, remember that a higher cacao percentage
means that the product will be more bitter. The polyphenols are responsible for
chocolate’s bitterness, so some manufacturers strip cacao of some polyphenols for
a sweeter final product. However, this isn’t ideal, since by removing the
polyphenols, the potential health benefits are removed too.

As much as possible, purchase organic raw cacao
powder from a trusted health store or reputable website that can offer you the
real deal. Once you have your powder, store it in an airtight container in a
cool and dark place with temperatures of 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Most of
the time, the original container you bought the powder in may be fine, since it
may already have a tight-fitting lid.

Organic cocoa powdered can store well for up to two
years if you follow these instructions. Avoid storing cocoa powder in the
refrigerator, since the humidity inside may promote spoilage.[xi]

On the other hand, if you want to add raw cacao
nibs to use as a topping, you can check out well-respected health stores and
websites too. Buy cacao nibs whole and grind them yourself (you can use a
coffee grinder) if you want to use these. You can also eat them whole, just
like typical chocolate chips. A healthy serving of cacao nibs would probably
stand at one-half to 1 ounce per day.

Coconut Milk:
A Good Choice for Hot Cocoa

Typical hot cocoa recipes call for some milk to be
mixed with the liquid cocoa. Instead of adding conventional milk from cows raised
in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), why not try coconut milk
instead?

Coconut milk comes from the meat of this
health-providing fruit. The flesh is finely grated, boiled in water and
strained through a cheesecloth, resulting in a liquid with a thick consistency.
Coconut milk with a thinner consistency may also be made by repeatedly straining
the remaining coconut meat.[xii]

The fact that this milk is made from coconut meat
provides a major advantage, since this is where the fruit’s nutrients are
mostly concentrated.[xiii]
This type of milk may eventually lead to the following health benefits:

·
Acting as
a tool that can boost energy and help with weight management:
Medium-chain
triglycerides (MCT), a type of healthy fat found in coconut milk, tend to be
immediately digested and metabolized in the liver and eventually help deliver
an energy boost. Furthermore, MCTs aren’t stored as fats, so they can be a
potentially good way to manage weight too.[xiv]

·
Helping manage
cholesterol levels:
Regular consumption of coconut milk may deliver a
positive impact on cholesterol levels. Researchers from an October 2013 Journal
of Nutrition and Metabolism study highlighted that coconut may assist with
lowering LDL or bad cholesterol levels in as quickly as two months.[xv]

·
Reducing
risk for inflammation:
Coconuts have been noted for their potential in
helping reduce inflammation in the body. An animal study proved that a type of
MCT in coconut called lauric acid helped reduce a signaling pathway that
prompts inflammation, particularly against the microbe Propionibacterium acnes
responsible for acne infection.[xvi]

·
Helping combat
viruses and bacteria:
Various research has shown that lauric acid may help
prevent maturity of the vesicular stomatitis virus.[xvii] Other studies have also shown that
coconut can be effective against Candida yeast and the Staphylococcus bacteria
strain.[xviii],[xix]

Just like cocoa, coconut milk is an ingredient that
you can use in a variety of drinks and dishes to give them a subtle flavor. Of
course, you can also drink it on its own to help refresh your body. If coconut
milk isn’t your cup of tea (or milk, rather), a good alternative would be raw, grass fed milk.


[xix] Journal of Drugs in
Dermatology, October 2007

https://articles.mercola.com/vitamins-supplements/resveratrol.aspx

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/02/08/amazing-health-benefits-dark-chocolate.aspx

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/06/05/coconut-oil-fattening-myth.aspx

http://foodfacts.mercola.com/cacao.html

http://foodfacts.mercola.com/coconut-milk.html

Source:: Mercola Health Articles