Hot Drinks for Cold Days

Curl Up and Relax with Seasonal Beverages
a young woman holding a steaming mug with winter gloves

The weather may be keeping you indoors, so curl up and relax by enjoying traditional refreshments like tea, cocoa, chai, coffee, or cider. These cold-weather favorites are a tasty way to get some additional health benefits, too. Start sipping!

Warming Beverages

  • Apple Cider

    Tastes similar to apple juice, but with a more tart, robust, and concentrated flavor. Add spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves and heat for a true autumn treat.

    Benefits

    • retains many of the benefits of whole, fresh apples—including antioxidants
    • may protect arteries from harmful buildups of plaque
    • daily consumption can reduce heart disease risk
  • Chai Tea

    This Indian favorite is spicy, creamy, and sweet. Made from black tea, heated milk, and a combination of spices that can include cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, ginger, and nutmeg.

    Benefits

    • black tea is linked to heart and bone health
    • black tea may reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol
    • black tea can help the body recover from stress
  • Cocoa

    Also known as hot chocolate, this childhood favorite is rich, sweet, and chocolaty. Typically made with milk. For a dairy-free version, use water.

    Benefits

    • cocoa consumption is associated with reduced cognitive decline in old age
    • cocoa possesses disease-fighting properties
    • cocoa may reduce risk of heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure
  • Coffee

    This popular morning pick-me-up can range from mild to bitter in taste. Some enjoy it black; others add cream, milk, or sweetener. Flavored coffees are a tasty option.

    Benefits

    • contains antioxidants and minerals that have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism, making it helpful against diabetes
    • may help relieve a headache and enhance mood
    • a compound found in coffee may help fight tooth decay
    • drinking anywhere from a half cup of brewed coffee (regular or decaf) to three cups daily is associated with a 21% reduced risk of stroke compared to drinking no coffee
  • Green Tea

    Bright and refreshing in flavor. Depending on variety, can range from mild to acidic and astringent.

    Benefits

    • contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a powerful antioxidant shown to have antiviral effects that can protect against flu and upper respiratory tract infections
    • reduces heart disease risk and lowers cholesterol
    • helps control blood sugar
    • may aid in weight loss (drinking several cups daily)
    • contains polyphenols, which may protect the brain against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
Sources: 

“Cocoa flavanol consumption improves cognitive function, blood pressure control, and metabolic profile in elderly subjects . . .” by D. Mastroiacovo et al., American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 3/15

"Effect of cocoa on blood pressure," Cochrane Database Systematic Reviews, 4/17

"Light to moderate coffee consumption is associated with lower risk of death . . ." by J. Simon et al., European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, 1/20/22

"Mechanisms of body weight reduction and metabolic syndrome alleviation by tea" by C.S. Yang et al., Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 1/16

"Preventive effects of tea and tea catechins against influenza and acute upper respiratory tract infections . . ."  by M. Umeda et al., European Journal of Nutrition, 2021

Contributor

Lisa Fabian

Contributing Editor

Taste For Life features articles and recipes by some of the best writers in all-natural wellness and nutrition. For more information, contact us.