Cocoa and the Kuna
One of the most interesting things you can study nutritionally are other
cultures. In American and the West, we have an epidemic of heart disease
and cancer. Most Westerners never stop to ask themselves if every culture
and population on planet earth experiences these same epidemics.
The surprising answer is that there are a number of other population groups that
have incredibly low rates of heart disease and cancer. These cultures are
all almost universally "poor". They generally cannot afford luxuries such
as a lot of meat and animal products. They eat and live simply. And,
because of it, they bypass most of the frightening deaths that plague us more
"wealthy" folks. (I cover other super-heart-healthy cultures, the
Pukapuka and the
Tokelua, in a link I call the High Testosterone Diet.)
So just how impressive are the Kuna with respect to protecting themselves from
heart disease and cancer? A 2007 study, where the researchers compared
mainlanders in Panama (eating a much more Westernized diet) versus the diet and
lifestyle of the Kuna, showed the clear superiority of the Kuna people.  The
researchers wrote, "In mainland Panama, as anticipated, cardiovascular disease
was the leading cause of death (83.4 ± 0.70 age adjusted deaths/100,000) and
cancer was second (68.4 ± 1.6). In contrast, the rate of CVD and cancer among
island-dwelling Kuna was much lower (9.2 ± 3.1) and (4.4 ± 4.4) respectively."
These are incredible numbers: death from cardiovascular on the mainland was
the leading cause of death just as it is in America and most other Western
countires. The Kuna's death rate from heart disease was one ninth of that
figure! And cancer, arguably the most frightening form of death, was only
a sixteenth. (NOTE: Don't forget to read my link on Dark Chocolate,
which works its magic by being chock full of cocoa, and Inflammation.)
This, of course, should be front page news. Scientist get excited when you can
reduce heart disease by a half. Imagine going well beyond that!
And the Kuna are not the only culture with these kind of numbers. So this
is not just an anomaly or misreporting and there simply is no reason that we
cannot enjoy the same kind of incredible health that the Kuna enjoy.
Do you know the foods and drinks that increase erection-boosting
Nitric Oxide? Check out the
Peak Erectile Strength Diet where I show
you how to dramatically and naturally improve your erectile strength.
How do the Kuna do it? Well, one of the keys seems to be that the Kuna
consume huge quantities of cocoa, which is nature's most flavenoid rich food.
Cocoa has all kinds of magic qualities, including lowering blood pressure,
reducing insulin resistance and increasing vasodilation (and Nitric Oxide).  The cocoa is
so powerful that the Kuna do not even experience the normal rise in blood
pressure that occurs with age!
How would this effect erectile function? Remember that Viagra and Cialis
work by keeping Nitric Oxide in your system longer. So we can reasonably
assume that erectile dysfunction, like cancer and heart disease, are a non-issue
with the Kuna.
As I stated on the link about How to Improve Your Erectile Dysfunction: studies have shown that cocoa boosts Nitric Oxide and, as I
often state, Nitric Oxide is the primary ingredient of an erection. 
no, don't think you can buy a Wendy's Frosty
and solve your erectile dysfunction: it's
low on cocoa and high on calories.) One recent study showed Nitric Oxide output increasing significantly
in those who ate dark chocolate.By the way, just 3.5 oz./day of dark
chocolate lowered blood pressure by 12 and 9 points after just 15 days!  Dark
chocolate has even been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, one of the curses
of the typical Western diet and a marker of Metabolic Syndrome. 
So is cocoa the only secret to the success of the Kuna? Well, it's
certainly one of them: they drink over 40 ounces of hot cocoa per day!
But it's undoubtedly not their only secret: they also eat a lot of fish,
which is a very common theme among the Super Heart-Healthy Cultures of the
NOTE: Chocolate, which is of course made from cocoa, has been found to be
more satisfying than kissing. It stimulates much a much larger region of
the brain and its effects are much longer lasting according to
one UK study. Also,
did you know that
two super-centenarrians were devoted chocolate fans,
including the oldest woman on planet earth? (Stick to only dark chocolate
which has high cocoa and relatively low sugar.)
If you want a lot of the gory details as to what exactly they eat, I recommend
which gives a nice summary: "In the first recent study, published in 1997,
the Kuna diet is described as 29% lower in fat than the average US diet (56
g/day), 23% lower in protein (12.2 g), 60% higher in cholesterol, and higher in
sodium and fiber. The study doesn't specifically mention this, but the reader is
left to infer that 65% of their calories come from carbohydrate. This would be
from plantains, corn, yucca, sugar and beans. The fat in their diet comes almost
exclusively from coconut, cocoa and fish: mostly saturated and omega-3 fats."
1) Int J Med Sci, 2007, 4:53-58
2) Hypertension. 2005;46:398-405
3) JAMA. 2007 Jul 4;298(1):49-60
Amer J Clin Nutr, Vol. 81, No. 3, 611-614, March 2005
Amer J Clin Nutr,Mar 2005,81(3):611-4