11/04/2017
Diet and Vision
Eye health
Resources Blog

The one thing you didn’t know about chocolate

- by Justine Shaw, senior vision therapist at Smart Vision Optometry

It may be hard to believe, but Easter is just around the corner. Never mind the fact that it feels like yesterday we were making New Year’s resolutions, it seems like time flies when you are having fun and we do tend to have A LOT of fun here at Smart Vision Optometry.

Whilst Easter is traditionally a religious celebration, it has evolved today into time dedicated to family and friends while indulging in a little bit of chocolate! So while we all contemplate the up and coming celebrations, whilst worrying ever so slightly about the expanding waistlines, we thought we would share some good news with you…Chocolate might just be good for your eyes!

Research has shown that dark chocolate can improve people’s vision. This is thought to be because of the higher concentrations of flavonoids found in dark chocolate, which may increase blood flow to the brain and retina of the eye. Vitamin A, which is essential for normal eye function and can reduce the onset of eye diseases such as macular degeneration, can also be found in dark chocolate.

One study in particular[1] tested the vision of 30 healthy adults before and after eating chocolate. Those who ate dark chocolate out-performed their previous tests and the other test subjects. Moreover, the scientists claimed that cocoa improves cognitive ability.

When eaten in moderation, dark chocolate can be a source of copper, magnesium, iron, manganese, potassium, phosphorous, selenium, zinc and fibre. The copper in dark chocolate aids in preventing damage to the optic nerves[2]

Well if that’s not great news, we don’t know what is!

Unfortunately, white and milk chocolate just won’t do. They are often higher in sugar and fat and do not contain enough cocoa to offer the same level of health benefits. When choosing dark chocolate, go for options that are higher in cocoa (ideally 70 – 80%), as many of the health benefits come directly from the cocoa. 

Click here to find out more about how your diet can affect your eye health.

[1] Consumption of cocoa flavanols results in an acute improvement in visual and cognitive functions (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031938411000771)

[2] Acute and Bilateral Blindness Due to Optic Neuropathy Associated With Copper Deficiency (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2893403/)