Here's one more reason to indulge in hot chocolate this winter: Drinking some can reportedly boost your brain power.

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I'll drink to THAT! I think I looked forward to snow days as a kid more for the homemade hot chocolate my mom would make than the day off from school. And, I love to trick out my hot cocoa with peppermint schnapps and marshmallows with sprinkles. Nom, nom!

Research out of the University of Birmingham shows that the flavanols found in hot cocoa can make you think smarter and faster. It reportedly also improves your brain's cognitive ability.

Flavanol is a compound naturally found in chocolate. 

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Researchers tracked how study participants, 18 healthy men between the ages of 18 to 40, reacted to brain-teasing tests before and after drinking hot chocolate. Those subjects finished the tests up to 11 percent faster than those who took the tests without sipping cocoa. Oxygenation levels also improved in the participants, according to Fox News, especially when researchers added extra flavanol to their hot chocolate.

The study was recently published by Scientific Reports. Catarina Rendeiro, one of the researchers, says flavanols (or flavonoids) can also be found beyond the chocolate world, in many fruits and vegetables, like onions, kale, grapes, and tomatoes, according to Healthline.com.

Rendeiro goes on to write, “By better understanding the cognitive benefits of eating these food groups… we can offer improved guidance to people about how to make the most of their dietary choices.”

Lilechka75/thinkstock

Although I find it interesting that no women were included in the study, I'm still ready to test the brain benefits of consuming hot chocolate on a regular basis this winter. Maybe, I'll totally make that my go-to drink, and give the coffee and lattes a rest for awhile.

Bring on the hot chocolate! And, let's go up our scores on Words with Friends! Who's with me?!

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