Have a Cough? Eat some Chocolate

We all catch a cold every now and then. Sometimes we get the sniffles…sometimes we get one of those irritating dry coughs that never goes away. What if I told you that there is an ingredient in chocolate that has been clinically tested and proven as a cough suppressant.

Introducing Theobromine

One of the active compounds in chocolate/cocoa is theobromine. Theobromine is related to caffeine chemically thus is considered a stimulant. Its effects however are ten times milder than caffeine and may cause significant medical complications ONLY when taken in large quantities. The compound came from the cacao plant called Theobroma which is referred as the “foods of the Gods.” Theobroma is a plant containing assorted chemical compounds which is responsible for the unique flavor it gives on chocolates and for its bitter taste.


Potential Benefits of Theobromine in Cough

Science recognizes theobromine as an effective cough suppressant. It is a naturally occurring chemical that could significantly help relieve the symptoms of cough. Dark chocolates have high contents of theobromine which a single bar can give you enough amounts of this chemical that would help reduce the cough symptoms. The chemical can also produce relaxing effects and can be an effective diuretic. It could help dilate the blood vessels and in effect could reduce the blood pressure. The anticipated action of theobromine that is significant in improving the cough symptoms is one its ability to relax the bronchi muscles of the lungs. Thus, it has become an ingredient in a lot of cough medicines.

What the Research Studies Revealed about Theobromine

A British study was published online in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal in 2004 showed that a study was conducted involving 10 volunteers who tested the effects of theobromine as against a chemical used for prescription cough medicine, codeine. It appears that theobromine is more effective in suppressing cough than codeine against capsaicin induced cough in a placebo study. The researchers created the theory that the effectiveness of theobromine in resisting cough is owed to its action on the vagus nerve, a nerve connecting the lungs to the central nervous system that is responsible for producing cough.

The potential effectiveness of theobromine can open the opportunity in creating better cough medicines as the current chemicals used in prescription cough medications can induce the occurrence of constipation and drowsiness. Other people who are taking these medications also experience some side effects such as the symptoms of nausea and vomiting in response to codeine. The content of theobromine in cough medicines may be taken from cocoa drinks that are taken from dark chocolates. Eating at least two ounces of dark chocolates can also be a source of 70 percent of cocoa contents that could remedy your cough symptoms.

How Effective is the Research Study?

Although there are several studies that were conducted that indicate the potential of dark chocolate to help relieve cough symptoms, there remain several skeptic views on its effectiveness. Several clinical research outcomes were already published in medical journals but the actual use of theobromine has not yet been in actual use as an active ingredient in prescription cough medicines.

A UK based study showed significant improvement among 300 people with cough who joined the clinical trial made in the National Health Service Hospitals in the UK after receiving two doses of theobromine daily. A 60% of significant improvement was seen in these patients that offer a promising value of cocoa in dark chocolates as a good source of remedy for improving cough symptoms.

Other Health Benefits from Chocolates

Chocolate, more specifically dark chocolate, has a lot of potential in giving health benefits. It contains polyphenols which act as an antioxidant that gives the body the resistance to fight against free radicals and harmful chemicals from the environment. It also contains stearic acid which fat does not affect the body’s cholesterol level. It also contains flavonoid that is health for the heart as it prevents blood clots thereby reducing the risks to heart attack. Now you can give yourself more enjoyment with the indulgence of eating dark chocolates without feeling guilty that it could form an unhealthy diet.

Theresa Lambert

Theresa Lambert is a professional medical write and blogger. She loves to share ideas about men’s health, supplements, nutrition, weight loss, green living and many other healthy stuff. She writes for this site: Northwest Pharmacy.

4 thoughts on “Have a Cough? Eat some Chocolate

  • April 22, 2013 at 12:03 am

    I heard many times that eating chocolates is good for cough though I personally haven’t tried it yet, but I think not all chocolates can deal with cough, dark chocolates are more preferred. In most cases, my natural remedy for cough is honey, it is still quite effective for me.

    • April 23, 2013 at 1:21 am

      You are right, Connie! Dark Chocolate is better to consume to fight cough. Actually it is a separate article about herbal remedies for cough. But yes I also think honey is good for cough too. I will surely write an article about herbal remedies for cough. Thanks!

  • April 16, 2013 at 9:31 am

    I’ve never heard how chocolate could help a cough – I’m sure many people would be happy with the news! I would think, though, that one would have to eat a lot to see any real health benefits – is that correct?

    • April 17, 2013 at 12:39 am

      yes. It is a quite awesome fact for poeple who love chocolate. But you shouldn’t forget that overeating of chocolate can lead to obesity. It has many benefits, except fighting cough. But it is better to eat 25-30g of it and you’d better replace milk chocolate into dark with at least 60 % cacao content.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *