How to make healthy hot chocolate this winter

If you like a nice hot chocolate on a cold winter's evening, there is a way not to feel bad about your health afterward.

Hot Chocolate 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Hot Chocolate 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)

Winter, rain, cold, lightning and thunderstorms: All these make us want to stay at home, curl up under the blanket and binge on Netflix.

What could be better than adding to all this goodness a pampering and indulgent hot chocolate drink? If you are concerned about the amount of chocolate and sugar in the drink, here are some simple tips published by the Health Council of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which will make the popular drink healthier.

First of all, use dark chocolate, as it is rich in antioxidants called "flavonols," which help protect against cardiovascular diseases.

Add cinnamon, because it helps lower blood sugar levels by stimulating the body's cells to utilize the insulin hormone.

Cinnamon 311 (credit: courtesy)Cinnamon 311 (credit: courtesy)

Avoid too much sugar. An average small cup of chocolate contains five teaspoons of sugar. You can make a healthier drink by using unsweetened dark chocolate and adding warm low-fat milk, plant-based milk or water.

Dark chocolate can be good for you

Dark chocolate contains much less sugar and calories than milk chocolate, or white chocolate which is often mixed with milk powder or condensed milk.

Studies have found that eating a small piece of dark chocolate every day may have a positive effect on heart health and reduce the risk of diabetes.

But does that mean you can allow yourself to eat an endless amount of it? The answer is no.

Dark chocolate contains a lot of a compound called theobromine, which is a known nervous system stimulant related to caffeine. Studies have found that eating large amounts can increase the heart rate and spoil the mood.