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Posted on 08-09-2016

Woody Allen made a movie called "Sleeper" (1973) in which there's a famous scene that depicts two scientists in the year 2073 discussing the dietary advice of the 20th century.  "You mean there was no deep fat, no steaks or cream pie or fudge?" asks one, incredulously. "Those were thought to be unhealthy," replied the other. "Precisely the opposite of what we now know to be true."
Little did we know back in 1973 that some of what those crazy scientists were discussing is now coming to fruition.

Most nutrition knowledgeable experts agree that the beta-carotene found in carrots and dark leafy green vegetables is good for promoting healthy vision.  Now those experts are discovering that perhaps a more desirable, delicious and sought-after sweet treat - dark chocolate - can also have a positive impact on visual health.

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, maybe it's time you added something healthy to your gift to that special person in your life.  Flowers are nice, jewelry also goes over very well, but if you add some dark chocolate or red wine (both high in antioxidant nutrients), it's like saying, "I love you and want us to enjoy a healthy life together for a long long time." Doesn't that sound romantic?

Scientists with the University of Reading in England tested the vision of 30 men and women before, and a few hours after, eating a chocolate bar (a very small sampling of subjects, but IT'S CHOCOLATE!).  Half of the participants received white chocolate and half received dark chocolate. Those who received dark chocolate performed better on vision tests - better than prior to eating the chocolate, and better than the other participants who received white chocolate.  Their findings were published in Physiology and Behavior.

The study abstract's research highlights states:
     "Acute cocoa supplementation enhances the visual performance of young adults.
     Cocoa improved reading of low contrast letters, and detection of motion.  We
     propose that increased blood flow to the retina and brain explains this.  We also
     replicated the findings that cocoa improves cognitive ability."

The researchers speculated that the results came about because dark chocolate has higher concentrations of flavonoids, the antioxidant compounds also found in teas, some fruits, and red wine.  These and other scientists agree that these flavonoids are able to increase blood flow to the brain and the retina of the eye.

In addition, like carrots and dark leafy green vegetables, dark chocolate contains vitamin A (albeit small amounts) which protects against macular degeneration.  And, Dark chocolate contains 0.5 mg of copper in every 1 once serving; you only need about 9 mg of copper per day, according to the Archives of Neurology.

Dark chocolate has less sugar and is less processed than lighter or milk chocolate.  It can seem bitter to someone who is not used to it, but many find it delicious - and you can too after giving it a chance.  You can find it in bars or in powdered form to use in recipes.

So, along with carrots, dark leafy green vegetables and brightly colored fruit, add a little dark chocolate to your diet for healthy eyes!

As usual, I am interested in your comments.  Please write to me at Info@drcharm.com.
​I continue to enjoy hearing from you and answering your questions.  It's a pleasure to learn together.

Be well,
Dr. Charm

Anaheim Hills Family Optometry
​6200 E. Canyon Rim Rd., Suite 101
Anaheim Hills, CA 92807
(714) 998-2020

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