How much chocolate do you consume in a week? A single bar? Two? Perhaps just little nibbles here and there?
What about two whole pounds?
By her own estimations, Madame Jeanne-Louise Calment, the oldest person who ever lived, enjoyed an incredible 2.2lbs of chocolate a week, roughly about two Raaka Coconut Milk bars a day! She lived a legendary 122 years, from February 21st, 1875, to August 4th, 1997. The Madame was a supercentenarian in every sense of the word. Did the cacao flavanols keep her heart pumping strong? Is she an example of cacao's unique ability to improve blood flow to the heart and the brain, as we showed you last month?
Along with chocolate, Madame Calment enjoyed copious amounts of olive oil, a bit of port wine, fencing, and riding her bicycle. She cooked for herself up until the age of 110, and enjoyed a life of leisure in Arles, a small town on the coast of Mediterranean France. Thanks to her marriage to Fernand Nicolas Calment, her financially endowed double second cousin, she did not require traditional employment. She outlived her entire family, including her daughter Yvonne Marie Nicolle Calmet, who passed with pneumonia at the early age of 35, and her grandson, Frédéric Billiot, who passed in a car accident at 36. At 73, Fernand passed after enjoying a dessert dish prepared with spoiled cherries.
Despite these sudden and devastating loses, Jeanne kept a positive mind throughout her life. She was said to be "immune" to stress. When she reached her 120th year, she is said to have remarked, "I see badly, I hear badly, I feel badly, but everything's fine." She embraced the progression of life and remained sharp until the end. The mood enhancing properties of cacao are well known, and it's likely these effects complemented the Madame's already cheerful approach to life. Check out the video below, where she enjoys her daily dosage of the cocoa bean.
Unburdened by the technicalities of her healthy habit, Jeanne consumed cacao at her leisure, without the knowledge of cacao's methylxanthine compounds, which increase oxygen and blood flow to the brain, or its insoluble fiber, which feeds friendly bacteria in the gut and contributes to a healthy microbiome. Eating chocolate made Jeanne feel good and may have helped her stay sharp by warding off neuron degeneration. Like her American counterpart, Sarah Knauss, who lived until she was 119 on snacks of milk chocolate turtles, cashews, and potato chips, she kept herself busy with quiet enjoyment.
Most of us will not be able to live in precisely the same fashion as these ladies. But they're wonderful testaments to the notion that life is perhaps best experienced through optimistic eyes, and with bit of chocolate. Take time to enjoy what you love; it just might be what keeps you alive.
We're not sure it's possible to keep up with Jeanne Calment's chocolate consumption while sticking to bars with a positive social impact (much of the Madame's life predates the fair-trade movement), but why not start off with our subscription plan and get two limited edition chocolate bars from our innovation lab delivered every month! We can't guarantee you'll live as long as the Madame, but we can fill your days with the unique bliss of unroasted cacao.