4 Best Hot Drinks to Enjoy This Holiday Season and Through Winter
By TOI Staff December 30, 2022 Update on : December 30, 2022
This winter (and late fall) have been pretty cold for a lot of areas— even those areas that don’t usually get cold this time of year. However, this is the perfect weather to enjoy a nice hot beverage! Unfortunately, some of our seasonal (and year-round) favorites aren’t the best for our health, but the good news is that some of our favorite hot beverages can actually provide some health benefits. Here are four of the best hot drinks to enjoy this holiday season.
#1: Apple Cider
Apple cider is a classic favorite during the fall, holiday, and entire winter seasons. Like apple juice, it contains the juice of apples, but apple cider also contains apple pulp— which contains more vitamins and minerals (vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, and potassium) than the juice alone. So this makes homemade apple cider both a tasty and healthy treat to enjoy when it’s cold outside.
The purest form of apple cider is the juice and some of the pulp from apples, so homemade apple cider is going to give you the most health benefits. Drinking pure apple cider can lower your risks of cancer and cardiovascular disease, as well as keep you hydrated if you dilute it with water. Also, keep in mind that most apple cider is pasteurized (boiled at a certain temperature) to kill any bacteria that may be present. Top off your homemade cider with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or ginger, which also have health benefits.
#2: Black Coffee
Coffee is a morning beverage enjoyed by many, and it also offers many health benefits that people may not be aware of, including decreasing the risk of developing dementia. However, the way you make your coffee can cause more harm than good to your health. For example, many people sweeten their coffee with sugar and also add creamer. Certain coffee creamers are also full of sugar and fat, which can curb the benefits of plain, black coffee.
Instead, you can sweeten your coffee with raw honey since it doesn’t cause a spike in blood sugar like regular honey or sugar. You can also use sugar-free and fat-free/low-fat creamers, or milks such as almond, coconut, or oat milk. Of course, you can drink it black if you prefer it that way. You can also choose decaffeinated coffee if you’re sensitive to or are trying to stay away from caffeine.
#3: Green and Herbal Teas
Green tea is one of the healthiest drinks there is. It’s full of antioxidants, so it has the potential to decrease your risk of breast/prostate cancer and colorectal cancer. Other possible benefits associated with drinking green tea include:
- Weight loss
- Promoting brain health
- Prevention of type II diabetes
- Prevention of cardiovascular disease
Other types of herbal teas have these same benefits and more. Other types of herbal tea include chamomile, jasmine, rooibos (redbush), hibiscus, and lemon verbena. While green tea is usually caffeinated (you can buy decaf green tea), other herbal teas are caffeine-free. You can also sweeten your tea with raw honey.
#4: Hot Cocoa
Hot cocoa is one of the most popular hot beverages, especially during the winter and holiday season. When made with pure cocoa powder, it can also be a healthy drink that you can enjoy this winter. Cocoa is full of antioxidants and has many other health benefits that you may be surprised to hear about. They include:
- Reduce high blood pressure
- May prevent cancer
- Improve symptoms of type II diabetes
- Improve brain function
- Help control weight
- Boost mood
Of course, this is when you use pure cocoa or cacao powder, and you’ll see even more health benefits if you don’t add sugar and use low-fat or non-dairy milk to make your hot cocoa. However, pure cocoa is bitter to taste. But you can make it a bit sweeter by making your own whipped cream and using a whipped cream charger from Exotic Whip. You can also try sweetening hot cocoa with raw honey.
You should also keep in mind that if you order these drinks from a restaurant, you may not get the healthiest version. Most restaurants add more sugar when preparing these drinks, so it’s best to make them yourself at home if you’re looking to get the most nutritional value and less of the bad stuff. Also, make sure to consult your healthcare provider when trying a new drink, such as an herbal tea, as some of these teas aren’t recommended if you have certain health conditions.