Good news, chocolate lovers! Turns out the sweet stuff is better for your winter colds than just about any other home remedy. Find out why chocolate is the best natural cure for your sore throat, along with tips on the right kind to choose for maximum health benefits.
Chocolate Is The Best Natural Cure For Your Sore Throat
Can’t stand the taste of lemon? Allergic to raw honey? Don’t think you can even begin to stomach elderberry? No worries, science has discovered a cure for winter coughs and sore throats that just about everyone loves- chocolate!
Yep, you read that right. Chocolate. As in the delicious, rich and creamy, oh-so-tasty, melty, dreamy chocolate. Don’t rush out to grab your favorite Hershey bar just yet, though, as there’s a catch. It can’t be any old milk chocolate. For the best results, you’ll want to choose dark chocolate made with real cacao.
Cacao has amazing health benefits. It is high in minerals and in its raw form, it is full of antioxidants. It also has demulcent properties, which means it relieves inflammation or irritation. If you want to learn more about the amazing health benefits of cacao, please read Cacao vs. Cocoa What You Need To Know. For now, though, let’s talk about why it’s such a great natural cure for coughs & sore throats, starting with the groundbreaking study that led to the discovery.
How Chocolate Can Soothe A Sore Throat
According to Professor Alyn Morice from the University of Hull, there is some strong evidence proving that cacao is very effective in soothing a sore throat. Professor Morice is a founding member of the International Society for the Study of Cough. He is also an expert in cough and respiratory medicine, and head of cardiovascular and respiratory studies at the University.
Along with colleagues, he set out to thoroughly evaluate the effectiveness of over-the-counter cough remedies. The ROCOCO study pitted medications containing diphenhydramine, ammonium chloride, and a cocoa-based demulcent against each other to investigate both the safety and effectiveness of each one.
In the end, the cocoa-based medicine won. “We have just seen the results of the largest real-world study of an over-the-counter cough remedy ever undertaken in Europe,” Morice explained to the Daily Mail. “… The head-to-head comparison found that patients taking the chocolate-based medicine had a significant improvement in symptoms within two days.” In fact, twice as many patients were able to stop treatment early than those taking other medications. They just didn’t need it anymore.
This was not the first study to show that chocolate can soothe a sore throat. A few years earlier, researchers at Imperial College in London found that theobromine, an alkaloid in cacao (and the same stuff that makes chocolate toxic to dogs), is better at suppressing the urge to cough than other established ingredients, like codeine (and with far fewer side effects).
How To Choose The Right Chocolate
A good rule of thumb is to go with the darkest chocolate you can stand. I recommend 70% of higher. Why? As dog lovers can tell you, there’s a reason why pups are at a much higher risk of fatal complications when they eat a bar of baker’s chocolate versus a plain old milk chocolate bar. The darker the chocolate, the higher the theobromine level.
Darker chocolate also has less sugar. I also choose one that’s dairy-free to really maximize the benefits of eating cacao. My kids also like it, and they are very natural. Even better, choose brands that use raw cacao. Chocolate made using raw cacao – which includes brands like OMBAR – means its nutritional content has been preserved.
Whatever you do, stay away from white chocolate. While the raging debate over whether it’s even remotely considered “real” chocolate is far from settled, no one can argue that it contains by far the least amount of cacao. By least amount, I mean none. Zip. Zilch.
The only reason the “sure, it’s real chocolate” people have the slightest argument is because it’s made with cocoa butter, which comes from the same plant. Saying that they’re close enough is like saying that you can use eggs in place of chicken breast in a recipe and get the same results. Sure, they come from the same source, but they are far from the same food.
I stand by my original recommendation- the darker the better. You can even make your own chocolate with my DIY Chocolate recipe. I love this recipe and after reading these studies, I can also make them to soothe a sore throat! It uses only 3 healthy ingredients! I think these little DIY chocolates are also going to be my cough drops this winter.
How to use chocolate as a cough remedy
Gobbling up a fistful of candy isn’t going to cure that cough. Sure, it may help, but not as well as if you do it the right way. Besides, we don’t want to trade in our sore throat for sugar shock! So, how do you use chocolate to cure your sore throat?
Morice explains that the chocolate needs to actually be in contact with your throat for longer than it takes to just swallow a big bite of candy. He recommends slowly sucking on a piece of chocolate instead. See, along with the benefits of theobromine, chocolate works because it coats the nerve endings that trigger our urge to cough. I know, that takes a lot of willpower. Think of it this way, though, a single piece will last a lot longer and you’ll satisfy your cravings with far less chocolate.
Of course, that advice also means that you can’t just down a cup of hot cocoa, even if it is made with the real stuff and not the “mostly sugar & dehydrated milk with a little chocolate-flavored powder” packets. Since the liquid slides right down your throat, it’s not sticking around long enough to be beneficial, and it’s not really coating those nerve endings.
So, to recap, if you want to reap the benefits of chocolate as a natural cough cure, choose the darkest type possible, eat it slowly, and use it in moderation. Also, remember that the internet is not a substitute for a doctor. If you have a persistent cough or sore throat, see a professional. None of this was meant to be taken as medical advice.
I hope you enjoyed reading this Chocolate Is The Best Natural Cure For Your Sore Throat post. If you are interested in reading more about my blog, please take a look at my latest articles. I am a mom blogger who loves to share creative and healthy fun food ideas.
I also believe kids deserve to eat real food. If you are interested, please check out my recipes for easy to make, healthy, and homemade family meals. I am not a chef or have many years of experience cooking, so most of my recipes are very easy to prepare.