I found a news article recently on the benefits of hot chocolate, claiming that a cup of cocoa can help ease pain & fatigue in those with MS, while helping others with chronic illness due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
As someone who loves hot chocolate, my interest was piqued.
Chocolate Based Pain Research
Research undertaken by scientists at the Oxford Brookes University looked at MS patients who drank hot chocolate daily for 6 weeks. It’s the flavonoids in cocoa that have anti-inflammatory properties, and this is what the research is based around. This study has been published in the published in the BMJ Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.
The scientists used a group of 40 patients newly diagnosed with relapse remitting MS, dividing the group into two. The first group drank cocoa rich in flavonoids mixed with heated up rice milk daily for 6 weeks. The second drank a low-flavonoid alternative. Participants then waited 30 minutes before any further food/drink/medications. The rest of their diet remained the same. Fatigue, pain and activity levels were monitored.
The results at the end of 6 weeks? There was a small but noticeable improvement in fatigue levels of those who drank the high-flavonoid cocoa, who also had slightly higher activity levels and slightly lower pain levels.
Studies have suggested previously that flavonoids in hot chocolate can boost oxygen and blood flow to the brain, while also helping the heart due to anti-oxidant properties. Is there any truth to that? Who knows, but it’s an interesting angle for scientist to pursue further.
Could Chocolate Help With Pain Conditions And/Or MS?
Of course, the research where MS is concerned should be taken with a pinch of salt. It’s a very small study and it’s very early days, but it’s tempting to think that hot chocolate – or rather, some kind of dietary element – could be beneficial in other chronic illnesses too where pain and fatigue are concerned.
I don’t really think a cup of cocoa a day will keep the doctor away, but it’s a good excuse to indulge in more chocolate yumminess. My personal favourite is Options Belgian Hot Chocolate, mmmm nom nom ♥
How do you take your hot chocolate?