Pass the dark chocolate for deliciously good vision
That very-hard-to-resist treat, dark chocolate, is credited with an assortment of health benefits, from lowering blood pressure to boosting brain health. Now there’s new evidence from American researchers to suggest that it’s good for your eyes. Oh, happy day!
It’s the antioxidants called flavonoids in dark chocolate which reduce inflammation and have the positive effect on health. Early research findings reported in the American JAMA Ophthalmology journal in April 2018 suggest that a small quantity of dark chocolate may increase your visual acuity (that is, how well you see) and your contrast sensitivity.
This very yummy experiment took the form of a small sample of around 30 participants whose average age was 26 years with no prior eye health issues. Some participants consumed a small milk chocolate bar, others consumed a small dark chocolate bar. After a period of 2 hours, the participants underwent visual testing, with results revealing a slight improvement by the dark chocolate eaters in their visual acuity and contrast sensitivity (in this case, measured by the ability to read small and large letters at different contrast levels).
One of the theories for this improvement in vision was a possible increase in blood flow through the visual pathway, enhancing the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the eye. The researchers have noted that more research is needed and that is music to the ears of any chocolate lover. In fact, our team here at Outlook Eye Centre may have to keep a spare block of dark chocolate at the ready for our own research purposes – all in the name of science (and in moderation of course!).