SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – According to Dr. Paul Durham, distinguished professor of biology and director of Missouri State University’s Center for Biomedical and Life Sciences, raw chocolate may be a natural remedy for those suffering from migraines.

Durham grew up in a household where his grandmother, mom, and sister all suffered from migraines. Instead of reaching for over-the-counter painkillers, Durham’s grandmother would eat a couple of squares of Bakers unsweetened dark chocolate that was 100% chocolate without any added sugar or flavors.

“After taking the chocolate and a having a good nap, often times, her migraine was gone,” Durham said. “It was truly remarkable, and that stuck with me.”

Durham began studying the benefits of cocoa.

“When you basically consume dark chocolate in its original form… like the 90% or 100% actual cocoa, that actually is the best because that has the highest concentration of the beta-sitosterol, which is this anti-inflammatory compound,” said Durham. He says the compound is also the active ingredient in aloe vera.

He says the chocolate he is referring to is not Hershey’s or any other processed chocolate.

The National Headache Foundation does not recommend chocolate treats as a means of symptom relief for migraines.

“The problem is that Americans love sugar,” Durham said. “So, we consume chocolate that is not in its native form: cacao.”

In chocolate treats, such as Hershey’s, the cacao content is almost nonexistent due to the number of additives.

In fact, consuming chocolate treats can end up stimulating a headache due to the caffeine and tyramine present.

“We’re talking about truly dark chocolate, the really bitter stuff,” said Durham.

He said by integrating raw chocolate into your diet, eating about a palm-size amount three times a week should improve cardiovascular and nervous system health.

“The more pure the chocolate you consume to the original form, the more likely you will experience the healthy benefit and hopefully get relief from your migraine,” said Durham.

Migraines account for 30 percent of the world’s headache disorders and are currently incurable, according to the World Health Organization.

Check out the video above to see Dr. Durham’s explanation of why some people get migraines and why some don’t.