Show Your Eyes Some Love This Valentine’s Day, With Dark Chocolate

Feb. 12, 2019

Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day or Galentine’s Day, here’s a gift that will show anyone you care: Dark chocolate. That’s because it may sweeten their vision.

Many studies have shown that the antioxidants in dark chocolate called flavanols are good for the heart, the brain, and even for people with diabetes. The latest research suggests that it can also sharpen your vision, at least temporarily.

How can chocolate help improve health? Turns out cocoa flavanols have a positive effect on blood vessels and can improve blood flow. It seems this enhanced availability of oxygen and nutrients to the blood vessels of the eye and brain may also sharpen vision.

This most recent study compared the effect of milk and dark chocolate on three types of visual perception: visual acuity, large and small letter contrast sensitivity. The researchers found that there were improvements in all measures two hours after eating a 47-gram dark chocolate bar (72% cacao).

The change in vision was small, but significant. While it’s too early for ophthalmologists to recommend chocolate as medicine for the eyes, given the decades of research consistently showing the positive health effects of dark chocolate, they’re not opposed to its consumption in moderation.

But, ophthalmologists do advise that the best and most consistent results are from dark chocolate, which can contain between 50 and 90 percent cocoa flavanols. Milk chocolate can contain as little as 10 percent and tends to be made with more fat.

Don’t care for the bitter taste of dark chocolate? Melt it and combine it with berries and nuts for an added antioxidant, nutrient-rich punch.

Ophthalmologists recommend you pack your diet with a variety of eye-healthy foods. Here are five things you should make sure are part of your diet for healthy vision.