As your clients are indulging in those Valentine’s Day chocolates this month, could they actually be increasing their longevity? More and more studies are indicating that cocoa has many positive qualities. In fact, it offers a host of science-backed physical health benefits, some of which even link moderate cocoa or dark chocolate consumption to longevity. Eating a certain amount of chocolate will not necessarily increase your client’s lifespan on its own, but there is significant research that shows cocoa may reduce your client’s risk of death from various diseases. This health benefit is a product of cocoa’s rich flavonoid content. The higher the percentage of cocoa in chocolate, the more active compounds are present for it to provide health benefits.
The Science Behind Chocolate and Its Benefits
Cocoa contains more antioxidants than many other foods, which may directly influence insulin resistance, thus reducing the risk for diabetes. Cocoa also has a favorable impact on vascular health, offers anti-inflammatory effects, and may stimulate the signaling pathways that are involved in the immune response. Cocoa can protect nerves from injury and inflammation and may have beneficial effects on satiety, cognitive function, and mood. When applied to the skin, cocoa can also shield the skin from UV damage. Despite its benefits, since cocoa is typically consumed in sugary chocolate, it can cause harmful effects due to overconsumption, including an increased risk of weight gain. Overall, research suggests that the benefits of moderate cocoa or dark chocolate consumption likely outweigh the risks.
Cocoa has been shown to decrease the risk of heart disease, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes. It can also improve cognition, specifically aiding areas of the brain dedicated to learning and memory, reduce age-related cognitive decline, and lower the risk for developing Alzheimer’s.
Does This Mean Your Client Shouldn’t Plan for Longevity?
While the health benefits of chocolate may be exciting, your clients should still have a plan for their longevity and the detrimental effects of aging. The longer your client lives, the more likely they will need care or become dependent in their old age. If your client has assets to protect, they should consider transferring their risk to an insurance company in the form of short-term or long-term care insurance. Once your client meets the qualification of benefits for the policy, they can use benefit dollars to pay for care at home, in an assisted living facility, or at a skilled nursing home.
There is no magic pill or crystal ball when it comes to longevity, which is why planning is key to any retirement strategy. For more information on the plans available in your state, please contact our team!