Living to be 116-years-old is incredible feat that only a few select individuals get to experience. One of those individuals was Giuseppina Projetto, who was known as the oldest person in Europe until she passed away on July 6th (1). She lived an incredible life well into her second century and it’s something to be celebrated.
Projetto’s Life As The “Nonna Of Italy”
Projetto, also known as the “nonna of Italy”, was born on March 20th, 1903 (1,2). She was born in La Maddalena in Sardina, Guiseppina Progetto and lived in a village near Florence from the 1960’s onward (3). Projetto moved to the village with her son, Renato Frau, who died at the age of 39 in an unfortunate drowning incident (3).
Projetto became Europe’s oldest living person in December 2017 (2). After her grandson told her the news, she responded, “Really? And exactly how old I am? So many?” (4). Projetto’s daughter-in-law, Guilia Mannozzi, wasn’t shocked by the news and said, “For us, the age of grandma is normal: people fill us with questions but with this exceptional life I have been dealing with it for 50 years.” (4).
The Secret To Projetto’s Long Life
Manozzi described Projetto as someone who “lives of habits” and said that, “she chews badly, but for the chocolate at the end of the meal, she always finds a solution” (4). That chocolate Projetto loved so dearly was one of the two things she attributed her long life to, along with a positive attitude (1). In fact, Projetto once claimed that she could not go one day without chocolate (3).
Projetto was definitely on to something. Despite chocolate’s questionable reputation, the sweet can actually be extremely beneficial. The healthiest forms of chocolate are dark chocolate and cacao nibs, which are often referred to as “superfoods” (5).
Chocolate – The Surprisingly Beneficial Superfood
Some benefits of eating dark chocolate include (5):
- Potential Cancer Prevention: Chocolate’s rich supply of flavonoids have led researchers to believe it may help to prevent cancer.
- Improved Cognitive Function: Flavanol-rich cocoa increases blood flow to gray matter in the brain, which is beneficial for conditions like dementia and stroke.
- Improved Cholesterol Profile: A 2009 study conducted on 28 healthy participants found that after one week of eating dark chocolate, they had decreased platelet reactivity and improved lipid profiles.
- Rich in Antioxidants: Dark chocolate’s antioxidant levels are higher than superfruit juices including acai, cranberry, and blueberry.
- Blood Pressure: A 2015 study found that a small amount of dark chocolate eaten every day lowered the blood pressure of type 2 diabetics and decreased their fasting blood sugar.
- Improved Heart Health: Flavanols, the main type of flavonoid in dark chocolate, help improve blood flow to the heart and brain and lower blood pressure.
- Protection from Free Radicals: The high antioxidant content of dark chocolate helps to neutralize disease-causing free radicals.
Projetto’s long life is proof that eating chocolate may not be such a bad thing after all (in moderation of course). Hopefully Projetto still gets to enjoy her favorite sweet treat in the afterlife! Read this next to learn about the 8 superfoods that will rejuvenate your heart and brain.
Europe’s Oldest Living Person Said She Reached 116 by Eating Chocolate Every Day. (2018, July 12). Retrieved from https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/yoga-wellness/oldest-living-person-eating-chocolate-every-day-good-for-you
Edwards, C. (2018, July 12). A nonna in Puglia has become Europe’s oldest woman. (2018, July 12). Retrieved from https://www.thelocal.it/20180712/a-nonna-in-puglia-has-become-europes-oldest-woman
Hartman, J. (2018, July 8). In Italy, Died The Oldest Woman In Europe. Retrieved from https://sivtelegram.media/in-italy-died-the-oldest-woman-in-europe/30070/
Cecchetti, Y. (2017, July 27). Guiseppina, 115 years old: she is the oldest in Italy. “Do I have so many?”. Retrieved from https://www.lanazione.it/empoli/cronaca/pi%C3%B9-vecchia-italia-1.3295593
7 Awesome Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate. (2017, December 25). Retrieved from https://draxe.com/benefits-of-dark-chocolate/
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