Whether you’re a chocoholic, avid tea lover, or both, it’s safe to say that it’s hard to live without either one. Well, now it is possible to enjoy the duo in one tasty sip. Cocoa-infused tea not only tastes delish, it can also give you a major health boost by helping you improve brain health, avoid fatty liver disease, and more.
Cocoa powder is a mainstay in hot chocolate, obviously, and can even make for a tasty add-in to your morning coffee. But this this unique drink might become your preferred way to get your chocolate fix — guilt free! Don’t confuse it with the kind brewed from the cocoa tea plant (also called Camellia ptilophylla), though, that is closer to green tea.
This tea — we love Numi Organic Tea Chocolate Pu-erh Tea (Buy on Amazon, $6.49) —combines black tea with organic cocoa powder. This gives the tea a brown color and a chocolate-y yet earthy flavor, which is perfect for mixing with honey and emilk. While cocoa might seem like an ingredient to save for cheat day, it’s actually packed with health perks that are perfect to enjoy in this yummy drink!
Cocoa contains antioxidants called flavanols that can help ward off signs of cognitive decline. A study published in British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology found that cocoa flavanols including epicatechin and catechin had a positive effect for increasing cerebral blood flow, which maintains healthy oxygen levels in the brain. This in turn protects the brain’s function and reduces the risk of age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Regularly enjoying cocoa tea might also lower your chances of developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Research published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry suggests that drinking beverages infused with cocoa powder can prevent NALD thanks to chemical compounds like polyphenols and methylxanthines. These compounds lowered the oxidative stress and cell damage in obese mice in their study, which blocked any liver inflammation from occurring.
If you’re finding you have leg pain while walking, having a cup of cocoa tea may help ease that discomfort. A study published in Circulation Research noted that a cocoa flavanol called epicatechin had therapeutic effects for protecting leg muscles and improving metabolism in those with peripheral artery disease. Researchers were stunned at how beneficial cocoa was for decreasing the participants’ discomfort when walking and hopefully that it could have other pain-relieving benefits.
While the cocoa-infused flavor and perks of this drink are enough to get the attention of any chocoholic, the black tea element also has its own nutritional benefits. Packed with powerful antioxidants including thearubigins, theaflavins, and flavonols, black tea can remove free radicals in the body that might otherwise cause inflammation. This comes in handy to lower your risk of developing other chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and dementia. Also, these antioxidants can slow down aging eyes by relaxing the tiny capillaries, which wards off blood pressure surges and glaucoma (feel free to pour yourself another cup!).
Sipping this delicious tea is a great way to indulge your chocolate craving without the calories. Plus, the amazing health perks make it one to enjoy as often as you can!