You may have heard that antioxidants protect your vision against eye diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts.
That’s why your mom told you to eat your carrots. They’re full of antioxidants that support healthy vision. So are leafy green veggies, citrus fruits, cruciferous vegetables and plenty of other plant-based foods.
But what if you’re in the mood for something a bit more decadent and delicious than a serving of broccoli? Is there another antioxidant-rich food you can turn to for healthy eyesight?
Well, the latest research shows a dose of dark chocolate could be the eye-saving sweet snack you’ve been searching for…
Dark chocolate boosts eyesight in two hours
It sounds too good to be true… especially if you’re a chocoholic… but the antioxidants in dark chocolate may be able to help your vision.
A recent study from researchers at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas found that eating dark chocolate can give you a small boost in vision in just two hours.
It was a small study. It only included 30 adults whose average age was 26. But the results were fascinating…
Researchers gave half of the study participants dark chocolate and the other half milk chocolate and then tested their eyes two hours later.
When study participants took the eye test, those who ate dark chocolate had better visual acuity (the ability to identify the letters on the eye chart) and better large-letter contrast (the ability to distinguish an object as the lighting changes intensity).
Why did dark chocolate have such a quick impact on vision?
Well, going into the study, researchers knew that the antioxidants in dark chocolate could increase blood flow to the nervous system, improve heart function and slow brain aging. All of this has been demonstrated in other studies.
Since those antioxidants boost blood flow to the brain, researchers suspect that they increase blood flow to areas important to vision like the retina, the brain’s visual pathways or the cerebral cortex.
Supporting healthy eyesight with dark chocolate
So, next time you head to the eye doctor or DMV for an eye test, snack on a few squares of dark chocolate. It’s too soon to say whether dark chocolate can save you from eye diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts, but it may be able to give your vision a little boost just when you need it.
Plus, it’s delicious and improves your health in other ways. It can help balance your blood pressure, support heart health and improve your athletic performance, among other things. So, there are more than enough reasons to include dark chocolate in your diet.
In the study, researchers gave people a 1.5-ounce Trader Joe’s 72 percent Cacao Dark Chocolate bar, but any dark chocolate bar with more than 70 percent cacao content should do the trick. Just make sure it doesn’t contain artificial sweeteners or ingredients. As always, the simpler the ingredient list, the better.
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- A bit of dark chocolate might sweeten your vision — MedicalXpress. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
- C. Rabin, et al. “Effects of Milk vs Dark Chocolate Consumption on Visual Acuity and Contrast Sensitivity Within 2 Hours.” — JAMA Ophthalmology, 2018.
- Antioxidants & Age-Related Eye Disease — American Optometric Association. Retrieved May 2, 2018.