The Natural History of Chocolate/Part II/Chapter II/Section IV
Chocolate is very proper to preserve Health, and to prolong the Life of Old Men.
Before Chocolate was known in Europe, good old Wine was called the Milk of old Men; but this Title is now apply'd with greater reason to Chocolate, since its Use has become so common, that it has been perceived that Chocolate is, with respect to them, what Milk is to Infants. In reality, if one examines the Nature of Chocolate, a little with respect to the Constitution of aged Persons, it seems as though the one was made on purpose to remedy the Defects of the other, and that it is truly the Panacea of old Age.
Our Life, as a famous Physician observes, is, as it were, a continual growing dry; but yet this kind of natural Consumption is imperceptible to an advanced Age: when the radical Moisture is consumed more sensibly, then the more balmy and volatile Parts of the Blood are dissipated by little and little, the Salts disengaging from the Sulphurs, manifest themselves, the Acid appears, which is the fruitful Source of Chronick Diseases. The Ligaments, the Tendons, and the Cartilages have scarce any of the Unctuosity left, which render'd them so supple and so pliant in Youth. The Skin grows wrinkled as well within as without; in a word, all the solid Parts grow dry or bony.
One may say that Nature has formed Chocolate with every Vertue proper to remedy these Inconveniences. The volatile Sulphur with which it abounds, is proper to supply the Place of that which the Blood loses every day through Age, it blunts and sheaths the Points of the Salts, and restores the usual Softness to the Blood, like as Spirit of Wine united with Spirit of Salt, makes a soft Liquor of a violent Corrosive. This same sulphurous Unctuosity at the same time spreads itself in the solid Parts, and gives them, in some sense, their natural Suppleness; it bestows on the Membranes, the Tendons, the Ligaments, and the Cartilages, a kind of Oil which renders them smooth and flexible. Thus the Equilibrium between the Fluids and the Solids is in some measure re-establish'd, the Wheels and Springs of our Machine mended, Health is preserved, and Life prolonged. These are not the Consequences of Philosophical Reflections, but of a thousand Experiments which mutually confirm each other; among a great Number of which the following alone shall suffice.
There lately died at Martinico a Counsellor about a hundred Years
old, who, for thirty Years past, lived on nothing but Chocolate and
Biscuit. He sometimes indeed had a little Soop at Dinner, but never
any Fish, Flesh, or other Victuals: He was, nevertheless, so
vigorous and nimble, that at fourscore and five, he could get on
horseback without Stirrups.
Chocolate is not only proper to prolong the Life of aged People, but also of those whose Constitution is lean and dry, or weak and cacochimical, or who use violent Exercises, or whose Employments oblige them to an intense Application of Mind, which makes them very faintish: to all these it agrees perfectly well, and becomes to them an altering Diet.
On the contrary, I would not counsel the daily Use of it to such who are very fat, or who are wont to drink a good deal of Wine, and live upon a juicy Diet, or who sleep much, and use no Exercise at all: In a word, who lead a delicate, sedentary, and indolent Life, such as a great many People of Condition at Paris are used to. Such Bodies as these, full of Blood and Juice, have no need of additional Nourishment, and the Diet will fit them better which is mentioned in Ecclesiast. Plentiful Feeding brings Diseases, and Excess hath killed Numbers; but the temperate Man prolongs his Days.
- Baglivius in Edit. Lugd. 1709. Pag. 414. Vivere enim nostrum siccessere est.
- Chap. xxxvii. V. 33 & 34. In multis Escis erit Infirmitas, propter crapulam multi obierunt: Qui autem abstinens est, adjiecit Vitam.