Great News! Chocolate May Not Cause Migraines After All

For decades, people who suffer from migraines have identified chocolate as one of their common triggers. But is it really?

In some circles, chocolate has gotten a bad rap for triggering migraine headaches -- and admittedly, that may be possible. As much as we love chocolate around here, even we extremos know it has its negative aspects.

For example, just eat some completely unsweetened chocolate and try to tell me that's a positive experience. And yes, the dark stuff gives some people acid reflux. But the good outweighs the bad for most of us... and according to recent research, it may not be a migraine trigger after all.

The Bitter Truth

For those who suffer from migraine headaches, chocolate has long been a no-no. But in a recent article on the website, Dr. Dawn Marcus recounts a study in which she and her colleagues tested migraine sufferers with a moderate amount of chocolate daily.

They followed the participants for 24 hours after each dose of chocolate or a carob placebo (yuck), and discovered that chocolate itself apparently wasn't a trigger, even when eaten with other suspected trigger foods. Even patients who were convinced it was a trigger didn't get migraines after eating it.

Suddenly, migraine sufferers can use the words "chocolate" and "migraines" in the same sentence without leaving a bad taste in their mouths.

What's It All About, Alfie?

Marcus et al. concluded that most migraine sufferers just assume chocolate causes their symptoms, because they often eat it in response to other migraine triggers, like menstruation, skipping meals, and stress, or in response to food cravings that often occur in early, pre-pain stages of a migraine.

In other words, the chocolate/migraine correlation is often a false one, a little like assuming fire trucks cause fires, since after all there's always a fire truck around whenever there's a blaze.

Begging to Differ

The researchers concluded that even if chocolate is a migraine trigger, it's not nearly as common a trigger as previously thought, especially if you're careful about avoiding other triggers.

Of course, some migraine sufferers refuse to believe that, which is understandable; and for them, it might actually be a trigger. Meanwhile, a few people report that eating chocolate in moderation actually helps their migraines. Remember, there are always a few outliers in any study population.

The Bottom Line

We've known for years that chocolate can offer excellent health benefits, particularly for the heart -- as yet another recent study proved. It seems that regularly eating chocolate substantially reduces both the risk of heart attack and stroke. Well, duh.

Clearly, scientists have difficulty believing that something that tastes so good can actually be good for you, hence all the repetitive studies. Accept it, guys! Chocolate's good for the heart, and it looks like it doesn't cause migraines, either