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Kuna Indian Secret

What do the Kuna Indians drink that may help account for their apparent low chronic disease rates?

September 11, 2009 |
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Supplementary Info

Sources Cited



Of course, there are other healthy drinks, too. Consider, the Kuna Indians, who live on islands off of Panama, one of the healthiest populations on Earth—20 times less heart disease compared to us; 20 times less cancer. And it’s not their genes—when they move to the mainland and start eating a typical Western diet their chronic disease rates skyrocket.
Scientists don’t think it’s what they eat, though, but what they drink. What’s their secret? Every day they drink more than five cups a day of which one of these? Acai berry juice, cocoa, yerba mate tea out of a gourd, quechua, a fermented drink made out of quinoa sprouts, or do you think they’re so healthy because they drink so much spirulina?
I’ll give you a hint: It’s not because they keep such adorable pigs as pets.
Well, it’s not the quechua—because… there’s no such thing. I just made that one up. It’s not spirulina, and mate may actually increase our cancer risk… Nearly all these people drink in this tropical climate is cup after cup of… cocoa!

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

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Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out theother videos on cocoa. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos--please feel free to explore them as well!

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the other videos on cocoa. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them as well!

  • HereHere

    That is weird. I don’t like the idea of a made-up non-existent beverage though.

    • chicov

      I suppose you could always follow through with it. Sprout Quinoa, ferment it and make a drink out of it. Perhaps it would have some really great properties. At any rate, the name is there, all you have to do is make it and it will no longer be non-existent.

  • chicov

    Dr. Michael G, how did they make their cocoa drinks? Mashed up cacao beans and boiled in water? How much did they have to drink? Why did they stop drinking cocoa when they moved to the mainland?

    • barbarabrussels

      I read somewhere they cooked it with mashed banana.

  • Jozaf

    I little more information on how to prepare a beneficial beverage would have been nice, instead of a teaser article. Bad Doctor!

    • techomaniac

      Yeah how do you prepare this mysterious cocoa drink!? I’ve never heard of such a thing as a cocoa drink. Perhaps he should patent that too! Maybe they should send researchers to find out what the secret recipe is. Alas. I bet it would be really good on a cold winters day with marshmallows in it….. But the world will never know!

  • j
  • TheLance3185 .

    How do they prepare it? Thanks Mike.