Have A Cough? A New Study Says You Should Reach For The Chocolate

by Laura Caseley
Laura is a writer, illustrator, and artist living in New York City.

It’s a sad fact, but it usually seems like the foods we love the most are the ones that aren’t the best for us.

That’s not to say that food can’t be healthy and delicious at the same time (and to be fair, lots of them are), but when it comes to real treats, they’re not always the healthiest choice.

But then there’s chocolate. The rich, smooth, and irresistible dessert has been treasured for centuries, but it’s more than just a decadent treat.

It’s also proven to actually be pretty good for your body, and a recent study shows that it might have one extra health boost to give you, too.

If you have a cough, the study shows that chocolate might be the answer, and that it’s even more effective than honey at soothing an irritated throat.

Yes, chocolate. Seriously.

The study was carried out by Professor Alyn Morice, a clinical pharmacologist from Hull University in the U.K., who found that cough medicines containing cocoa are better at soothing and clearing up coughs than those without.

There was also a study at the Imperial College in London that found a chemical in chocolate is more effective at calming coughs than codeine.

“I know it might sound like something out of Mary Poppins,” Professor Morice wrote for the Daily Mail, “but as an independent clinician who has spent years researching the mechanism of cough, I can assure you the evidence is actually as solid as a bar of Fruit and Nut.”

[H/T: Distractify, Daily Mail, Medical Daily, Vice]

Shocked boy

Everyone knows a cough is terrible, especially one that just won’t seem to go away.

There are all kinds of cough remedies out there, from homespun recipes with honey and lemon to medicated solutions from the pharmacy.

But one pharmacologist has discovered that there’s something else that might calm coughs, and it’s a treat you might never expect: chocolate!

Dr. Alyn Morice

Dr. Alyn Morice has studied coughing for years and recently found evidence that chocolate is great for coughs, specifically an alkaloid called theobromine found in cocoa.

Previously, researchers at London’s Imperial College found theobromine to be more effective at soothing coughs than codeine, and Dr. Morice’s findings back that up.

Piece of chocolate

Dr. Morice and his team at Hull University recently completed a study on the efficacy of chocolate-based cough medicine.

They administered it to 163 patients, making it the largest study of an over-the-counter cough medicine in Europe.

Plate of chocolate truffles

They found that patients started feeling better within two days of beginning the medicine regimen.

They also found that the patients were sleeping better, as they were less likely to be woken up by coughing fits in the middle of the night.

Pouring melted chocolate

And it’s not just the theobromine that calms coughs. It’s actually the texture of the chocolate, too.

Like honey, it’s thick and smooth, and when it coats the throat, it soothes irritated nerve endings and mucous membranes, reducing that itchy feeling that makes you need to cough.

Box of chocolates

Dr. Morice and his team suggest that the best way to reap the throat-soothing benefits of chocolate is to let a piece of dark chocolate melt in your mouth, so it will have time to coat the inside of the throat.

Better still, though, would be to use a cough medicine containing chocolate.

Dr. Cocoa chocolate cough medicine

And yes, chocolate medicine exists!

Dr. Morice has been studying coughing for most of his career, and has been running three clinics in the U.K. specifically dedicated to studying coughing since 1989.

Box of chocolate truffles

If you’d like to try the chocolate cure for coughing this winter, we suggest trying it with dark chocolate, as it’s the healthiest option.

And if dark chocolate isn’t your thing, try a cocoa-based cough medicine and see the effects for yourself!

SHARE this with anyone who would like another reason to have a piece of chocolate!