I have a chapter in my ebook devoted to eye health, carotenoids such as beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein are extremely important. These nutrients are found in raw fruits and vegetables. According to Dr. Wayne Campbell, of Purdue university, adding eggs and/or avocado or olive oil to a salad, increases absorption of these nutrients up to nine times higher when adults ate a salad versus those whose salads had no eggs. Carotenoids require some fat for absorption, and the oils and eggs are healthy options. Note for men: If you like to eat fresh tomatoes, drizzle a little olive oil over them to increase lycopene absorption. Lycopene seems to be beneficial for a health prostrate.

Here’s a great homemade cough remedy that I’ve had a client try, and it really works. Mix five parts honey to one part instant coffee crystals, Drink one tablespoon of the mixture in seven ounces of water every eight hours, as needed. In a study reported in the January15, 2015 issue of Bottom Line Health, this mixture reduced cough frequency by 93%, compared with 20% for a steroid and almost no effect from a cough suppressant.

The benefits of dark chocolate (DK) keep piling up. More than 300 scientific studies have established the power of DK to prevent and reverse heart disease. DK is rich in flavanols, powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds that nourish arteries. Dk decreases inflammation, decreases calcified arterial plaque, reduces high blood pressure, boosts HDL cholesterol, reduces LDL cholesterol, and can cut the risk of dying from heart disease by half! Scientists around the world have been investigating the healing potential of DK for a wide range of other conditions. The newsletter Bottom Line Personal (4/15/15) interviewed Bill Gottlieb, CHC, founder and president of Good For You Health Coaching, for the latest on DK.

  • Memory loss and dementia: Decreased blood flow to the brain is a well-known risk factor for dementia. In a study from Harvard Medical School, one month of DK consumption improved brain blood flow and mental performance in older people (average age 73) who had poor blood flow to the brain and structural damage to the white matter of the brain, which relays messages between neurons.
  • Skin cancer: A recent study at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, summarized some studies in a recent paper published in Nutrients, found that ingesting DK for 12 weeks protected the skin from UV radiation and resulted in 25% less reddening. Another study showed eating DK doubled the amount of time it took to start developing a sunburn. Dk also increases blood flow and oxygen to the skin, helping the skin’s appearance.
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome: Chronic fatigue syndrome is just that-a feeling of fatigue that never lets up. Muscle pain, insomnia, depression and poor concentration are hallmarks of this syndrome. In a study published in Nutrition Journal, 10 middle-aged people with chronic fatigue syndrome ate high-flavanol DK for eight weeks. They reported 35% less fatigue and were less depressed. But when they ate a low-flavanol DK for eight weeks, their symptoms returned.
  • Type 2 diabetes: In a recent study of 8,000 people published in Clinical Nutrition, those who ate one ounce of DK two to six times weekly had a 34% lower risk of being diagnosed with diabetes than people who ate DK less than once a month. Animal studies  show that flavanols can protect the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas, protect the kidneys, and the retina in the eye. Human studies are underway.

Which dark chocolate is the best? Mr. Gottlieb recommends: “A daily dose of 400 mg-higher doses don’t produce better results. The healthiest way to get those flavanols is with unsweetened cocoa powder. Mix one tablespoon   in an eight-to-12 ounce mug of hot water or milk (coconut and almond are great too), and add stevia as a sweetener.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.