Mayan and Aztec kings
revered their strength-giving
foods as gifts from the gods.
Today we call them
Eat like a king
The almost-magical foods of ancient South American royalty.
The most important treasures of Montezuma may not have been gold, but rather the almost magically strength-giving, super-nutritious foods that were staples during his day. In the ancient Olmec, Mayan, Incan, and Aztec civilizations, these foods were often reserved for royalty. Luckily, we don’t have to be kings or queens to enjoy them today.
If you are not already familiar with these four super-foods, read about their nutritional power, taste, and versatility, and see how easy it is to make them a delicious staple in your own anti-diabetes diet.
from the Nahuatl (Aztec) word cacuaatl, or cacao drink
Over 4,000 years ago, early Mesoamerican civilizations began consuming a drink made from the ground and roasted seeds of the Theobroma cacao tree. In ancient Aztec it was called Xocolatl (cacao). Today we call it chocolate.
By the height of the Aztec Empire, the drinking of cacao had become a luxury of royalty, the warrior class, and the wealthy. Montezuma II drank his precious xocolatl from a golden goblet. Cortez brought cacao back to Europe where, over the following centuries, it was enhanced with milk, sweeteners and spices to become the chocolate the world loves today.
But the good news is, chocolate doesn‘t only taste good—it’s good for you, too. Among its benefits:
It is rich in natural antioxidant compounds called flavonoids that might lower your risk of several diseases, including heart disease
Its antioxidants may also reduce diabetes risk and improve insulin sensitivity to allow for better blood glucose control
It can make you feel happier because it raises levels of hormones called endorphins, which can reduce pain and improve your mood
Since chocolate today contains high levels of sugar and fats, enjoy it in moderation – about 45 to 75 g a week (a single chocolate square per day). To get the most benefit from chocolate, choose raw cacao powder for cooking and baking. For eating, select a bar made of dark chocolate with a 70% or 80% cocoa content, and with the least amount of sugar you can find.
This site is for informational purposes only. Please consult your health-care professional to determine medical recommendations specific to you.
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