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Sweet! Hot cocoa really is good for you. Sip a steaming mug of hot cocoa and you'll get more disease-fighting antioxidants per cup than a similar serving of red wine or tea, report researchers from Cornell University.
Cocoa's antioxidants are almost two times stronger than red wine, two to three times stronger than green tea, and four to five times stronger than black tea, reports Science Daily. Antioxidants--vitamins C and E and beta carotene--are widely believed to fight cancer, heart disease, and aging. They may even help stave off the memory-robbing Alzheimer's disease.
The Cornell study is the most extensive comparison yet of the total antioxidant content of cocoa, wine, and tea, arguably the world's most popular drinks after water. There's just one problem with all this: Scientists know antioxidants are essential for our good health and longevity, but they don't yet know how much we need every day.
If you want to get your antioxidant dose from something sweet, there is nothing better than hot cocoa. And the key word here is "hot." Lead study author Chang Yong Lee says hot is better than cold. For some reason, when cocoa is heated, more antioxidants are released than when it's cold. Don't want the fat and extra sugar of hot cocoa? Use skim or soy milk instead of whole milk and an artificial sweetener instead of sugar.
The study findings appear in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.