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    Mulled Wine continued...

    There's also evidence that moderate alcohol consumption is associated with lower death rates from heart disease. Wine can increase "good" HDL cholesterol and may lower the risk of heart attacks by modestly reducing the ability of blood clots to form in the heart.

    Another recent finding, published in the December 2003 issue of the journal Cancer Research, showed that red wine reduces the activity of an enzyme called aromatase, which plays a role in breast cancer.

    Apple Cider With Cinnamon

    This one boasts two powerhouse ingredients: apples and cinnamon. Recent research done by food scientists at Cornell University found that a nutrient in apples, called quercetin, acts as an antioxidant and protects brain cells from the type of damage that triggers certain n diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Other studies have found that phytochemicals in apples may protect against colon cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. (Slayton notes that it's important to use only cider that has been pasteurized.)

    Cinnamon has been shown to improve glucose and cholesterol levels in the blood, which makes it particularly good for people with type 2 diabetes or high cholesterol.

    Hot Eggnog

    Can something as rich and yummy as eggnog really be good for you? Yes, but make it with skim or low-fat milk so it doesn't have as many calories and fat. And of course, calcium is also great for keeping bones strong. The eggs provide a good dose of protein and lutein, an antioxidant that has been touted for preventing vision problems.


    No-Sugar-Added Minty Hot Cocoa
    Recipe provided by Executive Chef Marc Gilberti and Molly Kimball, LSN, RD, at Ochsner Clinic's Elmwood Fitness Center in New Orleans.

    • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1-2 packets of Splenda sweetener (to desired sweetness)
    • Dash of salt
    • 1 cup 1% milk
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

    Mix cocoa, Splenda, and salt in large mug. Heat milk in microwave for 1-1/2 minutes, until hot. Gradually add hot milk to cocoa mixture in mug, stirring until well blended. Stir in vanilla and peppermint. Yields 1 serving.

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