Go Ad-Free
logoThe People's Perspective on Medicine

Can Cocoa Substitute for Aspirin?

Can cocoa substitute for aspirin when someone cannot tolerate aspirin because of extreme sensitivity?

Q. My husband takes a baby aspirin every day on the advice of his doctor. He wants me to do the same, but I am afraid to. Years ago, before I met him, I had a frightening allergic reaction to aspirin. Is there any other way to get the heart protection aspirin gives him? I’d prefer a natural product if possible.

A. People allergic to aspirin risk a life-threatening reaction if they are exposed to this drug. Others find that even small doses can be irritating to the digestive tract.

Aspirin is acetylsalicylic acid. There are certain foods that contain salicylates, related compounds that may have some of aspirin’s benefits without the complications. Including foods such as apples, cherries, grapes, prunes, tomatoes and strawberries in your diet might provide a beneficial dose of salicylate.

Wine and tea also contain antioxidant compounds called flavonoids that may provide cardiovascular protection. Surprisingly, so do cocoa and chocolate. Researchers report in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (July 2000) that the antioxidants in cocoa may reduce the risk of a blood clot.

The scientists used Cocoapro (now available under the name CocoaVia) made by the Mars candy company, which paid for the research. It is richer in flavonoids than ordinary cocoa. After drinking this special cocoa beverage, the subjects’ blood was slower to clot, much as if they had taken a low dose of aspirin.

We would check with your doctor to see whether you actually need to be concerned about reducing the risk for blood clots. We certainly think that cocoa is safer for someone who might be sensitive to aspirin.

Rate this article
4.7- 40 ratings
About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
Tired of the ads on our website?

Now you can browse our website completely ad-free for just $5 / month. Stay up to date on breaking health news and support our work without the distraction of advertisements.

Browse our website ad-free
Join over 150,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

We're empowering you to make wise decisions about your own health, by providing you with essential health information about both medical and alternative treatment options.