Hot Drinks for Cold Days

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

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.

  • 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.

  • 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


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

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


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.

  • 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

Green Tea

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

  • contains ECGC, a powerful antioxidant
  • reduces heart disease risk and lowers cholesterol
  • helps control blood sugar
  • may aid in weight loss
  • contains polyphenols, which may protect the brain against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

“Cacao Seeds Are a ‘Super Fruit’: A Comparative Analysis of Various Fruit Powders and Products” by S. J. Crozier et al., Chemistry Central Journal, 2/7/11

“Can Green Tea Do That? A Literature Review of the Clinical Evidence” by Y. Clement, Prev Med, 5/22/09

“Cider Nutrition & Health Benefits,”, 2011

“The Effects of Green Tea on Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance” by R. Hursel et al., Int J Obes, 7/14/09

“Review of Cocoa Flavanol Literature Shows That Blood Pressure-lowering Effects May Be Due to Modulation...” by C. G. Fraga et al., J Clin Biochen Nutr, 2011


About Lisa Fabian

A staff writer for Taste for Life magazine. For more information about this one, contact us.