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Warm and Cozy Winter Beverages

By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness

I always start my morning with a cup of tea or coffee.

Both of these caffeinated beverages are high in antioxidants. They help me start my day with focus and energy. They’re great for my cardiovascular system and my liver. They lower my risk of heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. Plus they help burn fat. 

So my day gets off to a great start!

To keep my energy levels, brain function and health benefits going all day long, I’ll usually have another cup or two of tea in the afternoon.

So I might have matcha green tea in the morning and a jasmine green tea mid to late morning. Then, in the afternoon, I’ll go with one that’s decaffeinated so I won’t have caffeine in my system at bedtime.

But when it gets chilly outside, I sometimes want a warm beverage that’s a little cozier and comforting.

The Winter Spice that Makes You Feel Warm and Cozy

Whether I’m drinking coffee or tea, one of my favorite treats is to add a stick of cinnamon to it. This is one of those winter spices that makes you feel warm and cozy on cold winter days.

Cinnamon is such a great spice! It’s a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and has many of the same health benefits as coffee and tea. So when you combine it with these beverages, you can enhance the potential health results.

First and foremost, cinnamon lowers blood sugar levels and improves insulin sensitivity. As little as 6 grams of this oriental spice (just under a tablespoon) can cut your blood sugar levels by almost third.

This is great news if you’re diabetic, pre-diabetic or suffering from metabolic syndrome.

But the good news doesn’t stop there. The compounds in cinnamon help decrease liver enzymes associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and also have anticancer activity.

Plus they lower blood pressure, triglycerides and LDL. So cinnamon is a real heart-healthy treat.

And let’s not forget about your brain health. Cinnamon helps ward off Alzheimer’s disease and could even help alleviate existing Alzheimer’s symptoms.

That’s because cinnamon appears to block tau filaments, which are associated with Alzheimer’s. It’s even been shown to disassemble the filaments, thus reversing the cell damage.

But before you grab a container of cinnamon and start sprinkling into your tea or coffee, make sure it’s the right kind.

Cassia cinnamon contains something called coumarin. Coumarin can have adverse side effects and, as a food additive, is banned in the United States. But if it’s in a natural food, it’s not regulated. So make sure you look for Ceylon cinnamon, which is commonly known as the “true” cinnamon. It contains much lower levels of coumarin.

I personally prefer Ceylon cinnamon sticks. You just place the stick in your hot brew, and the longer it sits in your beverage, the more cinnamon flavor is released.

Hot Chocolate isn’t Off Limits

Let’s not forget about hot cocoa. It’s a favorite winter beverage across the globe.

Cocoa is rich in antioxidants similar to those found in coffee and green tea. So it’s no surprise that cocoa helps protect against stroke and heart disease, improves blood sugar, lowers LDL cholesterol and raises HDL.

It also helps improve blood flow to the brain, which is important when it comes to preserving cognitive function.

But I’m not talking about the kind of hot chocolate we drank as kids. You know…  the kind that came in a powdered mix or syrup from a bottle. That stuff was basically a bunch of sugar and additives that were added to dairy milk.

For any real health benefit you have to use real, unsweetened cocoa.

Plus, you never want to mix your cocoa with dairy milk. The milk will inhibit the absorption of the cocoa’s antioxidants. So always prepare your cocoa with a plant-based milk, like oat milk or almond milk. Then, sweeten it with natural vanilla, stevia or a little raw sugar.

And here’s an interesting thought…

While a cup of cocoa has its own health benefits, what if you put a little cocoa in your coffee each morning? Maybe even with a touch of cinnamon. I guess you would call that something like a cinnamon mocha coffee.

Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you could even try a chocolate cinnamon tea.


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