The current issue of the Natural Medicine Journal contains a study review written by our good friend Julianne Forbes, ND. Dr. Forbes lives and practices in Bridgton Maine close in to Sebago Lake. Our family cabin is a short drive from her home. I always look forward to seeing her when we travel to Maine.
She reviewed a recent study by Scott and colleagues that tested the effect eating avocados has on cognitive function. Participants ate an avocado a day for six months. Average age of these volunteers was 63 years old. Those in the experimental group experienced, “… improved working memory and efficiency in approaching a problem.”  Nothing to complain about.
I recently reviewed the research of Ather Ali MPH, ND, a former colleague who passed away last October. He practiced and taught at Yale University. He had a wide-ranging curious mind and the research he completed investigated a wide range of topics. His work was cut short by cancer. In 2008 Ali was part of a team that reported dark chocolate and cocoa ingestion improved endothelial function and decreased blood pressure in obese individuals.  In 2011 they tested a well known and popular multi-level-marketed (MLM) product made of encapsulated fruit and vegetable powders to see if it would have similar effects. The MLM product did not. In fact the product caused no significant effects compared to the placebo. But the cocoa did.
Perhaps it was having these studies about avocado and cocoa so fresh in my mind that inspired me to bake a peculiar cake this afternoon. I came across this recipe in a Costco monthly advertising magazine. It’s such a peculiar recipe, curiosity alone is probably enough reason to try making it.
Any recipe that tells you to throw all the ingredients in a food processor and blend to smooth earns 10 points simply for ease of preparation.
Avocado Almond Chocolate Cake
3 avocados (about 1¼ to 1 1/2 cups) [I used 4]
1 cup each of cocoa powder, almond flour and honey
2 tsps vanilla
¼ tsp baking soda [one quarter teasp]
½ tsp salt (one half tsp)
Blend all ingredients in food processor until smooth. Spread in two greased 9 inch pans. [caution: I used a spring form pan…. Avocado oil leaked out and dripped on the oven]. Bake about 30 minutes.
Half a cup each of cocoa and honey
2 TB coconut oil
Blend until smooth and then chill to set it up.
toss everything in the food processor
the batter comes out looking and tasting like chocolate cake. I admit that I was hesitant to take the first taste; the second was easy.
Do I need to remind anyone that almonds are good for you? Or honey?
Well on April 11, 2018, a review paper written by Kalita and colleagues summarized the benefits almonds have on cardiovascular health. Eating almonds regularly improves just about everything heart related: “An extensive review comprised of epidemiological studies, clinical trials, meta-analyses, and systematic reviews was conducted from published literature from across the world. Studies examining the effect of almonds on different aspects of dyslipidemia viz. high low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C), low high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C), triglyceridaemia, and high total cholesterol levels have been included. In several studies, almonds have been shown to reduce LDL-C-which is a known risk factor for CHD-and the effect of almonds has been well documented in systematic reviews and meta-analysis of clinical trials. Addition of almonds in the diet has been shown to not only to reduce LDL-C levels, but also to maintain HDL-C levels.” 
And here’s a new study promoting a new potential use for honey. Also published earlier this April a paper by Bouacha and colleagues suggests that honey might be efficacious in treating urinary tract infections in pregnant caused by bacteria that have developed antibiotic resistance. 
1. Scott TM, Rasmussen HM, Chen O, Johnson EJ. Avocado consumption increases macular pigment density in older adults: a randomized, controlled trial. Nutrients. 2017;9(9):E919.
2. Faridi Z, Njike VY, Dutta S, Ali A, Katz DL. Acute dark chocolate and cocoa ingestion and endothelial function: a randomized controlled crossover trial.
The American journal of clinical nutrition. 2008; 88(1):58-63.
3. Ali A, Yazaki Y, Njike VY, Ma Y, Katz DL. Effect of fruit and vegetable concentrates on endothelial function in metabolic syndrome: A randomized controlled trial. Nutrition Journal 2011, 10:72.
4. Kalita S, Khandelwal S, Madan J, et al. Almonds and Cardiovascular Health: A Review. Nutrients. 2018 Apr 11;10(4). pii: E468. doi: 10.3390/nu10040468.
5. Bouacha M, Ayed H, Grara N. Honey Bee as Alternative Medicine to Treat Eleven Multidrug-Resistant Bacteria Causing Urinary Tract Infection during Pregnancy. Sci Pharm. 2018 Apr 13;86(2). pii: E14. doi: 10.3390/scipharm86020014.