Trivia

Hard

Compounds From What Food Have Been Shown to Suppress Coughing Better Than Codeine?

Chocolate
Coffee
Green Tea
Licorice
A bar of formed chocolate candy.
Tiia Monto/Wikimedia

Answer: Chocolate

Treating persistent coughing in patients is tricky business. Historically, the best way to suppress coughing in patients recovering from infections was to use codeine-based cough syrups to decrease the coughing reflex via the opiate content in the syrup. Giving patients long term dosing of opiate-derived medication is problematic, however, and medical researchers have long been searching for an effective non-narcotic cough suppressant.

One promising and non-addictive alternative to codeine-based medications is found in a surprising source: chocolate. The cocoa-derived compound theobromine has been shown to decrease coughing much more effectively than codeine and, more importantly, with no risk of addiction and lowered side effects (theobromine does have minor side effects in some patients like acid reflux caused by relaxed esophageal muscles).

If you’re thinking about eating a bunch of dark chocolate to cure your cough, then you might want to hold off on that plan, however, as the research was conducted using pure theobromine extracted in quantities not found in a handful of dark chocolate.

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