This headline particularly caught my eye: “New benefit of dark chocolate could be in sight, literally.” It was reporting on a study published in the medical journal Ophthalmology that analyzed vision parameters in volunteers after they consumed either a dark chocolate bar or a milk chocolate bar. The dark chocolate group had an improvement in contrast sensitivity (the ability to detect line separations) and vision when measured two hours later compared to the milk chocolate group.
What is the possible mechanism of this finding? Dark chocolate contains antioxidants known as flavonoids. These naturally occurring compounds have been linked to a number of health benefits including decreased inflammation; improved blood flow; along with increasing the “good” HDL cholesterol and decreasing the “bad” LDL cholesterol. Dark chocolate also contains a number of minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper and manganese. Dark chocolate has been linked with improved brain function, decreased heart disease risk and protecting the skin from sun damage.
As a frequent reader of this column, you are also well aware of other things you can do to protect your vision including NOT smoking, incorporating plenty of leafy green vegetables in your diet and wearing sunglasses. These three lifestyle choices will have a much greater impact on your vision in the future than an occasional dark chocolate bar!
As with most things in life, too much of anything is generally not healthy. Watch the sugar content in those dark chocolate bars and do not overdue it. The take home point of the study is that milk chocolate is just not worth the calories – go for the good stuff!
Dr. Martha Jay is a Board Certified Ophthalmologist (Eye Physician & Surgeon) specializing in medical and surgical eye care such as blade-free LASIK and small incision cataract surgery. She welcomes patients of all ages into her practice and accepts most insurance plans.
For more eye care information, call 262-241-1919 or visit www.MadisonMedicalEyeCare.com.