Chocolate Makes Me Cough • Why & What You Can Do •

Do you experience the peculiar reaction of coughing after eating chocolate? Have you suddenly just recognized this association and want to learn more about why it happens and if it’s normal? I understand because I felt the same way. So I decided to research this link to find out everything there is to know about it. I’ll be sharing my findings here with you today. 

So, why does chocolate makes me cough? Chocolate can make you cough if you’re allergic to a particular ingredient in it. It can also make you cough if you have a lot of mucus in the back of your throat, whether that be because of an infection, allergy, or it’s just naturally present at the back of your throat. In that case, chocolate will interact with the mucus by thickening it, which will then cause you to cough. 

So a few potential avenues to explore there.

But let’s delve into each one so you can pinpoint why you cough, specifically.

Then we’ll be looking at what you can do about it – both in the immediate aftermath and more long-term!

Why Does Chocolate Cause Coughing?

Chocolate causes coughing if you are allergic to a particular ingredient inside it. It also causes coughing by thickening any mucus in the back of your throat.

So, two main causes of coughing after eating chocolate. 

Let’s start with perhaps the least concerning and most common of the two.

Mucus Thickening

This is probably what’s occurring when you cough after chocolate. 

The chocolate mixes with any mucus at the back of your throat, and because it is high in sugar and milk, it causes it to thicken. Thick mucus then makes you cough.

You may have a lot of mucus at the back of your throat, for whatever reason.

This could be to do with a pre-existing allergy or infection. So when you get chocolate whilst you have this, it will probably make you cough. 

But that’s not the only thing at play here.

It is actually true that foods that contain lots of sugar and milk can make your body produce more mucus as well as thicken mucus that is already there.

Why do we cough when we have mucus in the back of our throat? Coughing is the reflexive action that our body performs in an attempt to clear mucus from the throat.

If there’s mucus, your throat will try and cough to clear it. If there’s lots of mucus that is thick as well, then you’ll cough more. And harder.

If you find that you’re having frequent episodes of coughing, then there is a possibility that you have gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD.

This is basically heartburn. Foods like chocolate can trigger GERD.

Allergic Reaction

Now it’s time to discuss a more concerning cause of your coughing after eating chocolate. An allergic reaction.

Chocolate comes in a variety of types, forms, and different brands. The recipes used for each chocolate will vary in terms of what ingredients they contain.

Some of these ingredients you may find that you are, in fact, allergic to. One of the most common symptoms of such an allergic reaction is coughing. 

Now it is very rare to be allergic to chocolate…but it is possible. So if you do have an allergic reaction, it’s probably to a particular ingredient used with the chocolate. 

But what are these ingredients that you could be allergic to?

Well, as we know, specific chocolates can sometimes contain milk, soy, or nuts. And we all know that these are big culprits in the world of good allergens.

You can also find more obscure ingredients that cause an allergic reaction to chocolate. 

For example, in rare cases, proteins from insects have been found in the preparations of chocolate. Such proteins have gone on to give people allergic reactions.

Then there’s cocoa, a key ingredient used in chocolate. Some people can even be allergic to this.

If your body is allergic to cocoa, you’ll know about it. Your immune system will respond, producing symptoms like nausea, cramps, breathing problems, and, you guessed it, a cough. 

Any reactions to cocoa should be treated immediately. This may involve having to visit a healthcare professional.

Another ingredient in chocolate that people can be allergic to is milk, remarkably. Yes, people can be allergic to milk. And chocolate, particularly MILK chocolate, contains lots of, yes, milk!

So it could be the milk content of a chocolate bar that is causing you to cough via an allergic reaction.

If this is the case, you’ll experience symptoms in those first few hours, which would include nausea, hives, rashes, and of course, coughing.

Again, be careful, as allergic reactions to milk can be quite severe in some cases.

Will All Chocolate Make You Cough?

Only chocolate that contains ingredients that you are allergic to will make you cough. If your cough is a case of mucus thickening or over-production, then chocolates with higher sugar and milk contents will make you cough more.

It depends on what will be the cause of your cough.

If it’s an allergic reaction that is causing you to cough after eating chocolate, then chocolates that contain the ingredient responsible will make you cough, whilst ones that don’t won’t. It’s pretty much common sense, really.

But when it comes to the general cause, that being chocolate’s interaction with mucus to produce your cough, then some chocolates are worse than others.

Chocolates that are high in milk and sugar will cause you to cough more because these are the ingredients that contribute to the production and thickening of mucus in your throat. 

Which, as we all know by now, is the primary cause of coughing.

Milk chocolate and white chocolate are big culprits for containing lots of sugar and milk.

Dark chocolate, on the other hand, contains much less milk and sugar. It is, therefore, much less likely to cause mucus thickening and production and a subsequent cough.

How To Stop Coughing After Eating Chocolate?

You can try and stop coughing after eating chocolate by drinking some water, sucking on dark chocolate, and coughing! Oh, and if it’s an allergic reaction, getting that seen to will stop you from coughing.

Now that may sound very confusing as there are a lot of contradictions there. 

So let’s start making some sense!

Suck on Dark Chocolate

If chocolate is what is causing us to cough, then why would we eat more? 

Milk and sugar are the key ingredients in chocolate that make us cough. That’s because they help produce more mucus and thicken it.

Dark chocolate contains much less milk and sugar, so it doesn’t make you cough as much.

At the same time, dark chocolate contains some compounds that will help aid with a cough.

So by sucking on some dark chocolate, you aid your cough whilst not worsening it because dark chocolate contains no or little milk and sugar!

Cough

That’s one contradiction out of the way. Now time for the next. 

How can you stop coughing? Well, you could cough. 

Coughing is that reflexive action from the body that is used to try and clear your throat of mucus.

So if your body is trying to cough, let it cough. And go mad with it. Cough till that cough is gone. 

The more you cough, the more mucus you’ll hopefully be able to move.

Think about it. When you have a sensation of coughing, and you don’t get to cough, the sensation lingers.

But if you cough when you feel that sensation, then it goes. And you no longer need to cough. 

So cough to stop coughing. 

Of course, don’t rely on this because some coughs are just relentless, and you need something a little stronger. Like cough medicine!

Drink Water

Cough medicine will help, but you can always rely on your good friend, H2o. 

If you drink water, then that will help clear your throat of mucus. 

And if your throat is clear of mucus, then you won’t need to cough.

Tend to the Allergic Reaction

Now it might be the case that you’re coughing because of an allergic reaction to the chocolate or a particular ingredient. 

So if you want to stop coughing, you’ll need to stop the allergic reaction.

That may mean taking the relevant medicine or, in some severe cases visiting a healthcare professional.

How Do I Stop Coughing From Chocolate? 

You can try and stop coughing from chocolate if you stick to chocolates that don’t trigger it, drink water before and after, and take steamy showers.

Choose The Right Chocolate 

We know that it’s milk and sugar that contribute to a cough. So if you don’t want to cough, choose chocolates that are low in milk and sugar.

Dark chocolate is good because it’s much lower in these ingredients.

But be warned, if you’re allergic to cocoa, then avoid dark chocolate. It contains loads of the stuff!

Drink Water Before and After

Again, stick to H20.

Drinking water before will help clear your throat of mucus, so there isn’t a lot for the chocolate to interact with.

Drinking after will clear it once again.

Steamy Showers

Sounds like a weird one, but trust me, it helps. If you know that you’re susceptible to lots of mucus in your throat, then you need to keep it nice and loose. 

As we know, the thicker the mucus, the more you’ll cough.

A way you can keep your mucus loose is by taking steamy showers. Try it!

Finally

Chocolate makes you do a lot of things.

One of those things is, unfortunately, the inconvenient action that is coughing.

Generally, it’s nothing to worry about. The chocolate is just interacting with your mucus.

Dark chocolate is best if you’re looking to avoid coughing.

But do make sure that you’re not experiencing allergic reactions as you might need to get them checked out.

Noticed other reactions when eating chocolate? Then my other guides may be of help:

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