Health Watch - Autumn: Hot Cocoa

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about autumn and your health. You need to prepare for cooler weather by getting a flu shot and having your furnace inspected. Fall treats such as fresh-baked whole-grain bread and pumpkin can be good for you. You also might be doing yourself a favor when you curl up on a chilly evening with a cup of hot cocoa.

Chocolate is a good source of flavanol, an antioxidant that may help keep arteries healthy and protect against heart disease. Unfortunately, most of the ingredients that are added to turn chocolate into candy, such as milk and sugar, add fat and calories and take away from the health benefits. But cocoa made with dark chocolate and low-fat or skim milk maximizes the benefits without as many of the drawbacks. Lona Sandon, a registered dietitian at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says drinking a cup of dark cocoa has the same health benefits as drinking a glass of red wine.

Visit www.utsouthwestern.org/nutrition to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in nutrition.

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October 2009


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