Hot cocoa. Sweet news: A recent study in The Journal of Nutrition found that the antioxidants in a mug of cocoa helps reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and LDL (“the bad”) cholesterol, increasing “good” HDL cholesterol, improving insulin sensitivity and improving blood flow. Another recent study, in The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that a cup of cocoa had twice the antioxidants of a glass of red wine, so drink up. Bonus: It’s a decent source of bone-building calcium.
Apples. Some of the tastiest apple varieties are available at supermarkets now. One of my personal new faves is the crisp and juicy Piñata, which is an heirloom cross among Golden Delicious, Cox’s Orange Pippin and the Duchess of Oldenburg varieties. Look for Piñata in grocery stores nationwide now. For more info, visit www.pinataapple.com.
Two-fer sundaes. It’s ice cream’s off-season, which means there are bargains to be had in the ice cream aisle and at other retailers. Baskin-Robbins, the world’s largest chain of ice-cream specialty shops, for example, is offering a weekly Buy One, Get One Free Two-Scoop Sundae at participating Baskin-Robbins shops nationwide every Wednesday through March (though in the New York metro area, the two-scoop special is every Tuesday instead). Shoppers who purchase a “Build Your Own” Two-Scoop Sundae will receive another Two-Scoop Sundae of equal or lesser value for free, so dig in.
With a free sundae to share, yummy apples to enjoy, and a healthy reason to sip hot cocoa, winter can’t be so bad, can it?