Health Benefits of Chocolate

Ever since I was little, I would get terrible headaches. Although they have become less frequent over the years, they are still unbearable. I was never able to find something that would be able to alleviate the pain. I decided to research different remedies that could help get rid of headaches. One particular remedy was chocolate. As strange as this seems, many people believe that chocolate has health benefits that can alleviate the pain of a headache. As much as I wish that chocolate had a direct causation of getting rid of headaches – considering my love for chocolate – there is a good chance that it is not. I decided to do some further research on this topic; the null hypothesis would be that chocolate does not relieve headaches and the alternative hypothesis would be that chocolate does relieve headaches.

According to an article on Live Strong, the cocoa bean contains antioxidants that get rid of free-radicals. The definition on Merriam-Webster describes a free-radical is a reactive group of atoms. These atoms can cause blood vessels to become inflamed which leads to headaches and migraines. Therefore, eating chocolate is one possible way to reduce inflammation and pain (Bond 2015). However, dark chocolate would be the most effective because it contains the highest amount of cocoa powder. In addition, people with diabetes can sometimes get hypoglycemic headaches from a low amount of sugar intake. Eating chocolate has been proven to reduce the pain of these types of headaches (Bond 2015). These assumptions however still do not mean that there is a direct link between eating chocolate and relieving headache pain. However, in another article written by ABC News, they explain how one study conducted on rats found the same theory to be true – the cocoa powder in chocolate reduces inflamed cells, which therefore reduces headache pain. However, they also explain how many other studies cannot prove whether chocolate can or cannot relieve headaches (Chitale 2008).

Another theory is that chocolate can actually  generate headaches. In a double-blind placebo study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh, researchers studied whether chocolate can cause headaches and migraines. The study was strictly based on women who had chronic headaches. The study was a double-blind trial where the women were randomly given two samples of chocolate and two samples of carob – a healthy substitute for cocoa (Merriam-Webster). The study found that the chocolate was no more likely to start a headache than the carob (Marcus, Scharff, Turk, and Gourley).

So in conclusion, there is no definite proof that chocolate can relieve headache pain or not. There’s also so evidence of chocolate provoking a headache. The main takeaway from this is that although chocolate is not the definite way to stop the pain of a headache, it wouldn’t hurt to eat a little piece the next time you do have a headache just to try it.

Sources:

http://www.chocbox.co.uk/media/catalog/category/chocolate-bar.png

http://www.merriamwebster.com/dictionary/free%20radical

http://www.livestrong.com/article/428310-why-does-chocolate-alleviate-aheadache/

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/MindMoodNews/chocolate-studies-headache/story?id=8530685

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9453274

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/carob

1 thought on “Health Benefits of Chocolate

  1. Francis Patrick Cotter

    Sugar, in general, can temporarily stimulate the brain. It generates dopamine, which is a powerful mind altering chemical. However, sugar’s effects are short-lived and can increase a headache after the dopamine dilutes. An explanation of this mechanism for how it influenced the studies’ results would benefit your post.
    However, the placebo effects vital in understanding the effects of chocolate.

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