Having a Snickers bar when you are sick definitely won’t help you recover in any aspect. We know the sugar and additives contained in highly processed candy bars can wreak havoc on your health and immune function. But, recent research suggests that dark chocolate candy, high in cacao, can help you battle both acute and chronic coughs.
Researchers with the British National Health Service presented the findings of their study at the British Thoracic Society’s winter meeting in December. According to DailyMail, the researchers used about 300 people in 13 different U.K. hospitals, all suffering from a cough.
For the study, each participant was given 1,000 milligrams of the chemical theobromine (derived from cocoa) twice daily for two weeks. More than half (60%) of the participants experienced some relief. Unfortunately, the benefits stopped when the theobromine was stopped.
Principal investigator Professor Alyn Morice, head of the Hull Cough Clinic, says:
“This new capsule we are using seems very effective. Eating a bar of dark chocolate a day which has high levels of the compound may also be effective for people with diagnosed persistent cough…”
For reference, unsweetened dark chocolate contains about 450 milligrams per ounce while a sweetened dark chocolate contains about 150 millgrams. Less effective and more highly-processed milk chocolate contains about 60 milligrams per ounce.
In other words, one bar of dark chocolate may have enough theobromine to temporarily soothe a cough.
Additionally, chocolate ranks among the top antioxidant-rich foods, which also provides great benefit. According to the USDA Database for the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of selected Foods, the antioxidant level, or oxygen radical absorption capacity (ORAC), of cocao, dry powder, unsweetened, is higher than cumin, Goji berries, milk chocolate, parsley, curry, ginger, elderberries, blueberries, and much more.
Though the benefits abated when supplementation stopped, most coughs caused by viruses like the common cold don’t last two weeks. You could try supplementing with dark chocolate while simultaneously treating your cold herbally. For more tips, check out there 8 home remedies for cough – they will likely be very helpful.
When you buy chocolate for health, it’s important to know what you’re getting. The darker the better. Most good dark chocolate bars will list the percentage of cocoa (or cacao) on the label. Anything over 70% will pack the most punch. As the percentage rises, the amount of sweetness decreases, though, so don’t expect your super-dark chocolate bar to taste like a Hershey’s Kiss.
Also, look for organic chocolate. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that big candy makers are doing their best to get GMO chocolate in every bar they can.
High quality chocolate is good for you. Putting a little in your tea or having it as a treat after your meal is not a diet disaster, unless you are trying to benefit from a processed candy bar. In this case, quality truly does matter.