By Dr. Michael Cooney, Clinical Director

dark chocolate lessens chronic pain
Can eating dark chocolate really reduce chronic pain?

Our Calmare Therapy NJ USA team fully supports combating chronic nerve pain without the use of medications, injections, surgery or other invasive pain management options.

It should come as no surprise, then, that we also support nutritional strategies to help reduce inflammation and resulting pain.

Many medicines are derived from plants, so eating plant-based foods only makes good sense to promote overall health.

For example, tomatoes promote heart health and spinach and other vegetables help offset several types of cancer.

And most pain sufferers know that cutting dairy, wheat, sugar or alcohol can decrease allergies, acid reflux and inflammation, ultimately improving overall well-being—including pain levels.

A sweet way to reduce pain

In addition, everyone’s favorite sweet treat, chocolate, has also been shown to help reduce pain.

But not all chocolate is the same.

Dark chocolate and cocoa have significantly higher flavanol levels, while milk chocolate and white chocolate have much lower levels.

Cocoa, the active ingredient in chocolate, provides a host of anti-inflammatory health benefits, from mood-lifting to antioxidants galore.

In addition to reducing swelling, dark chocolate also improves blood flow, which can also decrease pain.

Dark chocolate benefits

eat chocolate to lessen chronic nerve pain

The main active ingredient to create chocolate is cacao, derived from trees (again, plant-based). It has been scientifically proven to:

  • Increase the body’s natural opiates (endorphins)
  • Fire the brain’s cannabis receptors
  • Increase serotonin levels
  • Release the body’s natural amphetamine, phenylethylamine, better known as the “love drug”
  • Releases anandamide (aka the “bliss molecule”)
  • Contains tryptophan, the same chemical found in turkey, which makes you relaxed, even sleepy

Keep in mind, when shopping for dark chocolate for pain relief, the higher the cocoa content, the better.

Therefore, I’d skip the Dollar Store when shopping for medicinal chocolate products.

For the best results, choose a brand with at least 65 percent cocoa.

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Finally, dark chocolate doesn’t have the super-sweet and creamy flavor of typical milk chocolate, so it may take some taste bud adjustment when you first start to eat it.

Be creative, add it to your steamed milk or coffee; add it to a favorite recipe.

Limit yourself to three ounces a day, and look for chocolate with the lowest fat content you can find.

When a loved one asks what you’d like for Valentine’s Day this year, tell them you’d love some high-quality dark chocolate—doctor’s orders!


 

Dr. Michael Cooney is one of six Calmare-certified providers of scrambler therapy in the U.S. Since 2011, he has specialized in treating patients battling severe neuropathy as a result of fibromyalgia, CRPS / RSD, diabetes, shingles, post-surgical pain and pain after chemotherapy (CIPN).

To learn more, call 201-933-4440 or email us at info@calmaretherapynj.com.