The winter months are here, welcoming us with temperatures that can bring on the chills.
A hot beverage is often the perfect remedy to warm you up, but a decadent hot chocolate with whipped cream or sugar-laden chai latte can make it difficult to stick to your new year’s health goals. These drinks are also packed with added sugars, which contribute to obesity and other health issues.
Below are some tasty winter beverages that won’t derail your diet goals and some healthier cocktails, if you’re hosting or heading out to parties during the next few months.
Unlike store-bought versions, this chai latte contains no added sugar and is naturally sweetened with dates.
Chai tea is made with black tea and is loaded with anti-aging antioxidants. Chai also contains spices including ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and black pepper.
Ginger can aid in digestion and can be a helpful remedy for nausea. The pungent spice can also help to alleviate pain and inflammation.
Cinnamon can help control blood sugar and theanine and caffeine in chai tea can help to keep us focused during the day. Milk in this beverage delivers a healthy dose of calcium and vitamin D, keeping our bones strong and contributing to healthy posture.
This chai latte has only 99 calories – much lower than what your local coffee shop may be serving, especially if the chai mix contains added sugars.
You can use chai tea bags for the recipe, or if you are feeling adventurous, try whipping up your own chai spice mix!
Sip on a peppermint-infused hot chocolate for a soothing and delicious winter drink.
Peppermint may help in healing winter colds, sinus infections and headaches. Like ginger, peppermint has soothing effects on the stomach and can help fight nausea and digestive problems.
Cocoa is a richer source of antioxidants than most foods and offers cardiovascular benefits. The chocolatey bean can protect nerves from injury and inflammation and has beneficial effects on satiety, cognitive function and mood.
Cocoa beverages are often packed with calories: A medium (14-ounce) mint-flavored hot chocolate from Dunkin’ Donuts delivers 300 calories and 9 grams of saturated fat; a 12 ounce Starbucks peppermint hot chocolate has 330 calories and 8 grams of saturated fat.
My healing peppermint hot chocolate is made with omega-3 rich hemp milk, cocoa powder and maple syrup, and contains only 115 calories and less than 1 gram of saturated fat per serving.
This golden-colored drink is made with milk and warm winter spices including vanilla, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and pepper. It is sweetened with a little bit of maple syrup and contains 7 grams of protein, which helps to keep you satiated. The beverage also delivers about one-third of your daily calcium needs.
The star spice of this drink is turmeric. Turmeric’s active ingredient is curcumin, which gives the spice its golden color and has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Interestingly, research suggests that curcumin may act as an anti-depressant, which can be helpful during the long, dark winter months.
But there’s more to tout about turmeric: It helps to manage metabolic syndrome, arthritis, anxiety and elevated blood lipids. It may also help alleviate exercise-induced inflammation and muscle soreness.
The pinch of black pepper in the beverage contains piperine, a component that helps to increase the absorption of curcumin. Ginger also offers anti-microbial benefits, which can be helpful in warding off winter infections.
Matcha, which has been dubbed the “highest quality tea,” is a powder made from green tea leaves and is rich in an antioxidant known as EGCG. Similar to chai, it contains caffeine and theanine, which can help to keep us alert and focused. In fact, matcha tea may help with attention and memory according to one clinical trial.
Preliminary research suggests that concentrated matcha powder may also help fight viruses, including coronavirus.
And that’s not all – EGCG in matcha can help improve insulin sensitivity, which aids in blood sugar control, and may help to reduce inflammation related to Alzheimer’s disease.
The milk in this latte delivers a healthy dose of vitamin D, which helps to regulate the immune system, and can be helpful if you are not getting your dose of D from the sun in the wintertime.
In this recipe, you blend the milk, which quickly creates a froth. Dissolving the matcha in hot water before mixing it with the milk helps to prevent the powder from clumping. You can purchase matcha powder at health food stores or online.
This elegant winter cocktail won’t necessarily warm you up, but it’s a healthy choice if you are looking for a refreshing, bubbly and nutrient-rich beverage.
Pomegranates are rich in polyphenols, compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Research suggests the bright red fruit can help protect against various risk factors for disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and elevated blood sugar levels. Ellagic acid, a compound in pomegranates may help protect against skin wrinkling and inflammation from UV-induced sun damage.
Preliminary research suggests that lime juice may help support the immune system. Limes deliver a healthy dose of vitamin C, which plays a key role in our immune response.
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Tart cranberries and sweet orange combine in this beverage for another tasty and nutritious cocktail option.
Cranberries are rich in anthocyanins, compounds that help to keep collagen intact, which aids in keeping skin smooth and youthful. Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C, which helps to bolster the immune system and may reduce the duration of cold symptoms, a welcome wintertime benefit!