Dark Chocolate-Sweet treat for your eyes

Dark chocolate aficionados may have more reason to celebrate their favorite indulgence.

A recent study found that the flavanols found in dark chocolate might sharpen eyesight in adults with otherwise healthy vision.

Flavanols are already known to have beneficial effects on lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow and stabilizing cholesterol and lipid levels. Researchers wanted to further examine if these healthy benefits might also apply to the eyes.

The study involved 30 healthy adults with an average age of 26 who were given an unlabeled chocolate bar with 72% cacao one day and then a milk chocolate bar with only 12% of flavanols three days later. Vision exams were given to each participant within 2 hours of eating each of the bars. Participants who ate the dark chocolate had vision scores that were better for high-contrast visual acuity and contrast sensitivity and more specifically, small-letter contrast sensitivity.

Although encouraged by the study results, researchers caution that with such a small study, they could not advise doctors to encourage patients to consume chocolate to improve vision. Additional studies would need to be conducted on a much larger scale.*

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