It might seem odd, actually even counterproductive, when we say how chocolate can be used as a way to treat our sore throats. Hear us out… science has really come through once again by breaking the important news to us that chocolate can indeed cure our sore throat. *inserts shocked Pikachu meme* But instead of your usual milk chocolate bar that contains a lot of sugar, we are talking about cacao, the main source of where we get our chocolate bars from. Move aside honey and lemon, there is a new whizzkid in town that would help heal our throats back to health.
What Is Cacao?
Cacao (pronounced as cu-COW) refers to the Theobroma cacao tree where we get our cacao beans from. Why raw organic cacao is so highly regarded as a superfood is down to the many benefits that it brings. For one, it has almost 40 times more the amount of antioxidants in blueberries. That is a lot of antioxidants and what they do is to absorb all the free radicals that come from our environment and prevent cell and tissue damage in our body that might lead to life-threatening diseases like cancer. Cacao is also great as a source of iron. For most vegetarians or those on a plant-based diet, they are usually deprived of iron since they have to give up beef and lamb. But because of how much iron every 100 grams of cacao has, there is no longer a need to take iron supplements.
Another benefit of cacao that we have to highlight is the fact that cacao is an awesome natural mood lifter because of the chemicals in it like serotonin, tryptophan, tyrosine and phenylethylamine and these neurotransmitters have been linked with feelings of happiness. Not many might know this but cacao is also a great alternative to milk chocolate treats because of how they are able to inhibit digestive enzymes that help with weight loss. If you are making a comparison with your usual milk chocolate bars, a treat that works cacao into its ingredient list would be great.
What The Study Says
Based on a study by researchers at Hull University, there have been strong suggestions to believe that cacao might be effective in the soothing of our sore throats. In the study labelled as ROCOCO, the team had 163 test subjects consume a chocolate-based medication and observed how there were huge leaps of improvement in the symptoms of their sore throat in the span of two days and this goes to show how cocoa can be a viable alternative to the common linctus. What would be surprising, to say the least, would be the fact that there have been studies that have previously been done that show how chocolate can soothe a sore throat. Researchers from the Imperial College in London discovered that theobromine, an alkaloid that is readily found in cacao, is superb at suppressing the itch to cough and is even more effective than codeine, a common ingredient used in cough medications.
Why cocoa is extremely useful for the treatment of your coughs is down to the demulcent properties that it has — what that means is that it is stickier and much more viscous than the usual cough medicines we get at the pharmacy and that would help layer down a coating that would protect the nerve endings around our throat. This is similar to the effects of honey and lemon which would help you suppress the urge to cough. You might be wondering if hot chocolate would work. Sadly, we would have to burst your bubble here since the cocoa found in hot chocolate wouldn’t come in contact with the throat long enough for it to shield the nerve endings with a protective coating.
Not All Chocolates Work
Unfortunately, this wouldn’t apply to all chocolates and what we get from the study is that dark chocolate with a higher percentage of cacao would be suitable for this. Because the higher the percentage of cacao in it, the less sugar it would be likely to contain. Something that is recommended is to opt for chocolate that has over 70% of cacao in it as a benchmark. For those who are lactose intolerant, the dairy-free version of chocolate would be the perfect way for you to include into your medicine cabinet. If you are looking to reap the many benefits from cacao, your best bet would be to select those that utilise raw cacao and that would mean its many nutritional contents would be preserved.
How About Some Do-It-Yourself Chocolate?
If you still aren’t convinced, you can even make your own chocolate to be on top of all the chemicals and additives that might go into your chocolate during the manufacturing process. In this three-ingredient recipe for chocolate, you would only need half a cup of cacao powder, half a cup of virgin coconut oil and five tablespoons of honey as a natural sweetener. In a bowl, mix them all together really well by whisking them together or simplify it by utilising a hand blender. Following which, you can put them into little moulds that you can find at baking shops. For added whimsy, you can even pour the mixture into fun moulds like an egg chocolate mould or even a heart-shaped mould. Following that, you would just have to place them in the freezer for 3 hours for it to sit. It is as simple as that and this little DIY project can be eaten each time you have a sore throat or feel like one is on its way.