Use about 1 ounce of 60 percent cocoa chocolate shavings mixed with skim milk, Splenda, stevia or sugar and vanilla extract to make a cup of hot chocolate. I don't recommend having it on a daily basis, but once in a while is not so bad.
Nutrition: One cup: 208 calories; 15 g fat; 18.5 g carbs; 2 g fiber; 4 g protein
The Why: It's pretty tasty, and there are many important health components in apple cider, especially bioactive, functional food components, including vitamins (mostly C) and phenolics.
Health Perks: In several studies, apple consumption has been associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and asthma. Apples are loaded with flavonoids such as quercetin, which is important for keeping blood vessels healthy, reducing inflammation throughout the body, preventing DNA damage that can lead to cancer, and slowing cancer cell growth.
One study, from the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, stated that apples may reduce the risk for lung and colon cancer. In terms of cardiovascular health, properties in apples decrease lipid oxidation, which helps to delay the breakdown of LDL or "bad" cholesterol. When LDL oxidizes in the blood, plaque accumulates along the walls of the coronary artery and causes atherosclerosis. Research also suggests that apples could help fight Alzheimer's disease.
According to scientists at Cornell University, the antioxidant concentration in apples is among the highest of all fruits and similar to that of store-purchased blueberries (wild blueberries are the highest), which are often touted as having the highest antioxidant activity. The antioxidant content of apples was originally underestimated because bound phenolics (phenolics that survive stomach digestion) weren't included, and the phenolics in apples are more bioavailable—meaning that they are more easily absorbed into the bloodstream—than those of many other fruits.
Apple cider is made from the liquid of the apple. Therefore, some important functional components that stay within the skins and flesh may not be in the cider. So, it's still better to eat an apple than to drink a cup of cider. Typically, commercially prepared cider is just juice, but supermarkets and specialty stores often have the real stuff. Apple cider is made from pressed apples; the idea is to keep the pulp, and some makers even keep the peel (the most powerful source of health benefits). To get the most from your apple cider, make sure to get real apple cider, which is cloudy because it's not filtered.
Have cider a few times during the winter and make sure to eat a real apple every day—yes, to keep the doctor away.
Nutrition: One cup: 120 calories; 0 g fat; 30 g carbs; 0 g fiber; 0 g proteinrace near you.