In the dead of winter, we crave hot drinks that will warm us up from the inside out.
Siesta Botanicals has the healthiest herbs and spices to make a delicious cup of hot cocoa, golden milk, or passion flower tea.
- Organic cacao: 1 tbsp or to taste
- Honey (or other sweetener): 1 tsp or to taste
- Milk (whole, oat or almond): 1 cup
- Cayenne pepper (if you want to make Mayan hot chocolate)
- Heat milk on the stovetop. (Don’t boil.)
- Add cacao and stir until all lumps are dissolved.
- Pour into mugs. Stir in honey or sweetener of choice.
What’s so healthy about cacao?
Cacao beans (Theobroma Cacao) are an incredibly nutritious superfood, grown on trees in Central and South America.
Raw organic cacao is the highest plant-based provider of iron. This is important because iron deficiency is one of the most severe nutritional problems around the world. Dark chocolate provides 25% of the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) at 1.90 milligrams.
Cacao is also rich in several other minerals, including magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese, and copper.
But that’s not all. Organic cacao also has more than 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries and more calcium than cow’s milk.
Cacao is one of the richest sources of polyphenols – those naturally occurring antioxidants found in vegetables, fruits and tea. Polyphenols help reduce inflammation, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels and improve cholesterol.
Cocoa powder contains up to 50 mg of polyphenols per gram. Single servings of cocoa and cocoa products contain more phenolic antioxidants than most foods, and more procyanidins (a class of flavonoids) than the typical American consumes each day.
The antioxidant effects of cacao may directly influence insulin resistance and, in turn, reduce the risk for diabetes.
The heating and heavy processing of cacao causes it to lose some of its benefits, so it’s best to get it in raw organic form.
A Better Source of Energy
Not only is cacao significantly healthy and delicious, but it can also add an energetic burst to your day without the comedown of drinking coffee. This is because cacao contains some caffeine (much less than coffee) as well as a compound called theobromine.
Theobromine — found in higher amounts in cacao than caffeine — gives you more of a holistic high, compared to the jitteriness of caffeine. Theobromine is more mild than caffeine — it has a slower onset, is longer-lasting and non-addictive.
Golden milk, or “haldi doodh” in Hindi, is a traditional Indian beverage full of health benefits. This comforting hot drink contains milk, honey, turmeric and other warming spices. It’s commonly consumed to ease cough, aches, inflammation, and restlessness.
- Milk (or oat or almond): 1 cup
- Turmeric powder: 1 tsp
- Honey: 2 tsp or to taste (or sugar, Stevia, maple syrup, etc.)
- Cinnamon: ½ tsp
- Nutmeg: ½ tsp
- Black Pepper: Dash
- Heat milk on the stovetop. (Don’t boil).
- Stir in turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg and black pepper.
- Pour into mugs. Stir in honey or sweetener of choice.
What’s so healthy about turmeric?
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a flowering plant of the ginger family Zingiberaceae. The plant is native to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia and has a long history of use in traditional medicine.
This Ayurvedic spice has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is an efficient scavenger of free radicals. Research has shown that curcumin can improve inflammation, pain, metabolic syndrome, and help in the management of inflammatory and degenerative eye conditions.
What’s so healthy about ceylon cinnamon?
Ceylon cinnamon, or “true” cinnamon, is considered to be a superfood loaded with minerals, vitamins, and powerful antioxidants.
Ceylon cinnamon’s active ingredient, cinnamaldehyde, lowers inflammation in the body. Cinnamon has high levels of beta-carotene, which is partly responsible for its rich brown color.
Cinnamon has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, and antilipemic (prevents the accumulation of fatty substances in the blood) effects. Recently, several studies have looked at the beneficial effects of cinnamon on the blood and the brain, as well as in diseases such as Parkinson’s and diabetes.
Ceylon cinnamon may also be beneficial for people with insulin resistance or diabetes. Research suggests that consuming cinnamon can help your body regulate your blood sugar levels and reduce your risk of hypo- or hyperglycemia.
In addition, since cinnamon helps control glucose levels in the brain, it may also be useful in some neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Cinnamon may also help reduce cholesterol. “Bad” LDL cholesterol is linked to problems like heart disease and stroke. Cinnamon seems to lower LDL and overall cholesterol levels without significantly affecting the “good” HDL cholesterol.
Although the inner bark of several other Cinnamomum species is also used to make cinnamon, cinnamon from C. verum is considered by culinarians to be of superior quality.
Passion flower Tea
If you’re looking for a lighter, more refreshing drink, a hot cup of passionflower tea is the perfect choice. This tea has an earthy, grassy taste, so if it’s too bitter, it might be helpful to add some honey or other sweetener.
- Passion flower tea leaves
- Optional: sweetener
Place loose-leaf tea in a teapot with a built-in infuser. Bring water to a rolling boil. Pour water over tea and steep for 5 minutes.
What’s so healthy about passion flower?
Many people drink passion flower to help ease insomnia, anxiety or restlessness. Native Americans used the herb as a medicine to treat a variety of health conditions, including wounds, boils, ear aches, and liver problems.
Passion flower has been shown to help reduce spasms and relax the central nervous system.
The herb contains many antioxidants, including vitamin C and lycopene, that help neutralize damaging free radicals.
Passionflower appears to act on GABA receptors and is considered an effective stress reducer. It has been shown to help reduce spasms and relax the central nervous system.
Research demonstrates that passionflower can help with chronic insomnia and memory issues. It may also help during episodes of restlessness, anxiety, sleeplessness and depression.