BBC News: Cocoa nutrient for ‘lethal ills’.
A nutrient in cocoa called epicatechin appears to lower the risk of four common killer diseases, work suggests. Among the Kuna people of Panama, who can drink up to 40 cups of cocoa per week, rates of stroke, heart disease, cancer and diabetes are less than 10%. The Kuna also appear to live longer than other Panama inhabitants and do not get dementia, a US scientist reports in Chemistry and Industry. Experts stressed that genes and other lifestyle factors also play a part. However, researcher Dr Norman Hollenberg, of Harvard Medical School, says the cocoa chemical would benefit other populations too, including the Western world, although he concedes there may be ethnic differences. And he acknowledges his studies are based on observations, so cannot provide cast iron proof.
Cocoa is the only thing the Kuna people drink. No tea, no coffee, no beer, just cocoa, their whole lives.