CHOC IT UP Chocolate & Coughing

A man found a magic lamp on the beach. He rubbed it and out popped a genie, who gave the fella three wishes.  First, he wished for a million dollars, and poof, there was the money. Second, he wished for a convertible and poof, there was the car.  Finally, he wished that  he could be irresistible to all women, and poof, he was turned into a box of chocolates.

Good news for chocoholics.  The next time you come down with a cough, just pop in a piece of your favourite treat and you’ll get all the cough-suppressing effects of codeine syrup without the fuzzy-headed or sleepy-headed side effects.  So says Dr. Alyn Morice, head of the Cardiovascular and Respiratory Department  at the University of Hull and a founding member of the International Society for the Study of Coughs.  In the largest real-world study ever done comparing chocolate to codeine for coughs, those who took the chocolate reported far more significant cough relief in the first 48 hours than those who took the codeine.  Dr. Morice explained, “Cocoa is a demulcent (an oily substance that can soothe or protect an abraded mucous membrane) and it is stickier and thicker than standard cough medicines and therefore forms a better coating over the ticklish or ravaged never-endings in the throat that cause you to cough.  The good professor also stated he believes the same is true for sore throats, but those studies have not yet been finalized.

How about hot chocolate?  Will drinking a cup of the delicious steaming cocoa have the same cough-suppressing effect?  Sorry, no.  As cozy and as comforting as hot chocolate might feel, the diluted cocoa solution does not have enough long-term clinging contact with the throat nerves to be effective.  According to Dr. Morice, you are much better off by sucking on a piece of chocolate and letting it melt down slowly to coat your throat.  And he adds, make sure it’s a piece of dark chocolate if you want to get more of the healthy benefit of natural antioxidants.

The bottom line?  Smooth your cough with yummy-tasting chocolate instead of medicinal-tasting codeine? It’s almost enough to make you welcome winter!

Note – The phrase “choc it up” is a play on  “chalk it up”, meaning to give credit.  It comes from the 16th century practice of writing a debt owed on a chalk board as requested  by the customer to the owner.

Dark Chocolate Vs. Milk Chocolate

Chocolate is extracted from the cacao plant. Pods are taken from tropical trees, which contains cocoa beans. These are crushed and the mash is then extracted and fermented for around seven days or so.
Dark chocolate has a much higher percentage of cacao and tends to be lower in fat. This style of chocolate appears much darker than milk chocolate because it is more pure, from 60% cocoa and up.

Milk chocolate is more refined than dark chocolate and as such has a smoother, sweeter and creamier texture. It uses milk powder or condensed milk to make the chocolate thus and is around 30% cocoa.