Does Chocolate Help Headaches? Or Causes Them?

Does Chocolate Help Headaches?

In addition to the numerous uses in cookies, cakes, drinks, pastries, etc., chocolate has also made a name for being very beneficial for health. Chocolate is well-known as an anti-inflammatory food and is also packed with antioxidants, making it beneficial for several health aspects. Among other things, does chocolate help headaches? 

In general, chocolate is considered to help headaches, but not all types of chocolate. Dark chocolate is the most effective as it is 70% cocoa. Cocoa contains magnesium and riboflavin, which relax the blood vessels in the head, causing the headache to subside. 

Because the main ingredient in chocolate is cocoa, which is known as a powerful antioxidant, and the more cocoa it contains, the more beneficial the chocolate is. There are many misconceptions about whether or not chocolate is beneficial and to what extent. Not all types of chocolate are equally effective against headaches. In the following paragraphs, I will explain which types of chocolate are beneficial for headaches and are they helpful for migraines. 

Does Milk Chocolate Help Headaches? 

Milk chocolate cannot help an already existing headache, but regular consumption of milk chocolate helps reduce the frequency of the headaches and their severity. The percentage of cocoa in milk chocolate varies from 35% to 55%, which isn’t enough for the cocoa to come into full effect. 

The milk powder in milk chocolate is sometimes made of actual milk, but sometimes it isn’t, so depending on the quality of the milk powder, the milk chocolate can be more or less efficient. The reduced cocoa amount combined with, say, low-quality milk powder won’t do much to help you reduce the frequency of your headaches. 

On the other hand, if the milk chocolate is made of high-quality milk powder and a good amount of cocoa, it does have a beneficial effect. 

Is Dark Chocolate Good for Headaches? 

Dark chocolate is the type of chocolate that is most beneficial for headaches. [2] Dark chocolate consists of 70% cocoa which is enough for the cocoa to visibly influence the taste and effects of the dark chocolate. 

Dark chocolate helps with already existing headaches, but it also helps in reducing their frequency. Cocoa has magnesium and riboflavin, which help blood vessels relax and reduce headaches’ intensity. Therefore, regular consumption of dark chocolate will make your headaches less frequent and more manageable, and theobromine will have a relaxing effect on your whole body.

Does Hot Chocolate Help Headaches? 

Because it is so tender, creamy, and absolutely delicious, hot chocolate stimulates serotonin secretion in the body. That’s why we feel calmer and more serene after a cup of hot chocolate. Calming oneself and letting the body unwind is tremendously vital during a headache. 

The tenser we are, the worse the headache becomes. Therefore, hot chocolate is an excellent choice if you have a headache. In addition, the cocoa in the hot chocolate will combine well with the calming effect of the hot chocolate, which will certainly alleviate your pain. 

Still, hot chocolate makes the pain more bearable, rather than eliminating it, making it easier for you to manage it. However, if you want a hot chocolate while you have a headache, make sure it doesn’t contain caffeine, as it will likely worsen your headache. 

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Does Chocolate Help Headaches

Does White Chocolate Help Headaches? 

Actually, white chocolate isn’t even chocolate as it doesn’t contain cocoa particles. It is made of cocoa butter, sugar, and vanilla flavoring (in most cases). Cocoa butter is packed with vitamin E, which boosts brain health and clears up brain fog. Therefore it can also help with headaches. 

However, it has a more preventative rather than restorative effect, making your headaches more tolerable and manageable. 

Does White Chocolate Cause Migraines? 

Since the root cause of the migraine remains unknown to this day, no one can say for sure what triggers it, so no, white chocolate doesn’t cause migraine. If anything, white chocolate has a beneficial effect on migraine. 

Although it isn’t an illness, migraine is a type of headache that affects a large portion of the world population, with women being affected more than men. It is believed that migraines are triggered by a sudden hormone change in the body, which is why many women have them before their cycles. 

The vitamin E contained in cocoa butter, a constituent ingredient in white chocolate, has a very beneficial effect on reproductive health, especially in women, and helps balance the hormones, especially during the wretched PMS period. [3] So, not only does white chocolate not trigger migraines, it helps prevent them. 

Though it doesn’t help alleviate the current pain, white chocolate is efficient in the long run. Still, every organism is different, and if you have specific intolerances, white chocolate can have an adverse effect, although it isn’t known as such. 

Does Chocolate Milk Help Headaches? 

Yes, chocolate milk helps with headaches. Much like milk chocolate, chocolate milk contains, more or less, the same ingredients and is therefore equally effective when it comes to headaches. Chocolate milk cannot alleviate an already existing headache, but it can make your headaches more manageable in the long run. 

The protein and vitamins from the milk, combined with the cocoa in the cocoa powder, are an absolute slam dunk improving your circulatory health and detoxifying your body. In addition, the milk will hydrate your body, making it easier for the cocoa to get absorbed into your system. 

RELATED: Hot Chocolate vs. Chocolate Milk: Differences Revealed

Does Chocolate Help Migraine Headaches? 

Migraine headaches are a very mysterious type of headache, and it is still uncertain why they occur or how we can get rid of them. There certainly is a correlation between chocolate and migraine headaches. 

The magnesium and riboflavin contained in chocolate and incredibly dark chocolate are known to be beneficial for headaches. However, it is believed that chocolate harms migraine headaches rather than helping you get rid of them. [4]

Can Chocolate Give You a Headache? 

You can get a headache after eating chocolate, for sure, but whether or not the chocolate has triggered, it is not as clear-cut as it seems. First, the general nutrition and lifestyle primarily affect the frequency and severity of your headaches. 

Another major factor is physical activity, whether you are active or mainly sedentary. The stress level is maybe one of the determining factors in this regard. Therefore, even if you get a headache after eating chocolate, it can be for various reasons, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that the chocolate is to blame here. 

The caffeine contracts the blood vessels, which creates pressure in the head. However, caffeine can also improve headaches in people with low blood pressure. Chocolate can trigger headaches due to the caffeine contained in cocoa. 

In summation, it all depends on the individual, as what works for some doesn’t for others. [5] Chocolate can help reduce or prevent your headache but can worsen it for the next guy. Generally, if you have low blood pressure or a low glycemic index, chocolate will likely help you with your headache, but if you have higher blood pressure, it may make things worse for you. 

Still, it is worth the try, as it won’t harm you. 

  • Laura is the owner of Julie's Cafe Bakery. She started this blog with her grandma Julie who introduced her to the amazing world of cooking. She likes to experiment with different flavors, and her favorite flavors combo is chicken with coconut milk, curry and peanuts!