Froth for life

November 27, 2003

YET AGAIN, Mom was right. Hot cocoa is so, so good for you.

Besides its delightful flavor, the rich choco-powder turns out to be chock-full of antioxidants, substances that can prevent cancers and other forms of disease in the body, say scientists at Cornell University. In fact, it handily out-healths those previous surprise superdrinks: A single cup of hot cocoa contains nearly twice the antioxidants as a glass of red wine and up to three times those in a cup of green tea.

That's in addition to its previously known benefits -- as a mild stimulant, a diuretic and blood-vessel expander, among others. It is a true comfort food, so long as one can manage not to binge.

So swig a frothy mug, and picture those little ill-killers rushing through the alimentary passage and into the bloodstream, fighting for your life. Gaze out the window and feel your mind grow easier and your day grow richer.

That's not to say that people should run out and scarf down everything at Ye Olde Chocolate Shoppe. There is no set dosage, but moderation is likely best.

And a cup of hot chocolate far outscores a candy bar for healthy goodness, because the harder form has 24 times the fat content. It is definitely better than, say, that so-sweet chocolate-puff cereal the kids (and maybe the spouse) try to sneak into the grocery cart.

Of course, one can always hope those helpful scientists discover that some antioxidants are anti-fat agents as well.

As for which superdrink is best, might we suggest the buffet? Start the day with a hot cocoa, lighten the afternoon with a dose of green tea, then finish the evening with a glass of red wine.

Bliss, the experts would agree.

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