Eating This One Surprising Food Could Finally Cure Your Cough

It even works better than cough syrup, one expert says.

Getting rid of a persistent cough is no easy task, especially if you want to avoid a trip to the pharmacy. But if you’re in a pinch, forget about honey and lemon. We have one natural cough remedy that even a picky eater can get behind: chocolate. (By the way, these medical reasons could explain why you have a chronic cough in the first place.)

That’s right, chocoholics! Chowing down on this delicious dessert can soothe your cough—no medicine required. That’s not the only health benefit of chocolate, either.

But don’t just take our word for it. According to Professor Alyn Morice, a leading expert in cough and respiratory medicine, chocolate is a more effective cough suppressant than codeine syrup. In a new study that compared the two remedies, patients who ate the sweet stuff showed significant improvements in their cough symptoms within two days.

There are two major factors behind our next cough cure. Cocoa naturally contains an ingredient called theobromine, which research has shown can relieve chronic coughing. Plus, when the melted treat forms a sticky coating in your throat, it protects the nerve endings that cause you to cough, experts say.

“Coughing is a medical condition, which affects most people at some point in their lives, and yet no effective treatment exists,” researcher Peter Barnes, a professor at the Imperial College London, said in a news release. “While persistent coughing is not necessarily harmful, it can have a major impact on quality of life, and this discovery could be a huge step forward in treating this problem.”

All the more reason to pop a piece of chocolate the next time your throat feels scratchy. Here are more natural cough remedies you can make from items already in your kitchen.

[Source: Daily Mail, WebMD]

Brooke Nelson
Brooke Nelson is a researcher at PBS FRONTLINE in Boston, Massachusetts, and writes regularly about travel, health, and culture news for Reader’s Digest. Previously she was a staff writer at Reader's Digest. Her articles have also appeared on MSN, Business Insider, and Yahoo Finance, among other sites. She earned a BA in international relations from Hendrix College. Follow her on Twitter @BrookeTNelson.