Can Dark Chocolate Improve Vision?

May 16, 2011

In recent years the health benefits of cocoa have been coming to light, particularly its role in heart health.  Research has shown that this is likely due its ability to improve blood flow, thanks to high levels of flavanols naturally found in the cocoa bean.

A newly published study is the first to show that these benefits may extend to vision.  Subjects, who were young adults, ingested 35 g of dark chocolate or white chocolate as a placebo, followed two hours later by vision tests for contrast sensitivity and motion detection.  Both parameters were improved.

The authors noted that, “A reduction in the time required to integrate visual motion could be beneficial in time critical everyday tasks, such as driving.”

Effects on cognition were also tested, specifically working memory and choice reaction time.  Both of these functions were also improved.

The dark chocolate tested contained 773 mg of flavanols.

Additional studies will focus on effects on older subjects.

For more information on the study, click here.

For the study abstract, click here.

Risa Schulman, PhD
Expert, Healthy Food and Dietary Supplement Science, Marketing and Regulatory




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One Response to “Can Dark Chocolate Improve Vision?”

  • Dean

    And here are four steps to maximize the health benefits of dark chocolate:

    The Darker the Chocolate, the Better. Dark chocolate has a higher percentage of cocoa solids, containing the health benefits, than milk or white chocolate. Most dark chocolate products have the cocoa percentage labeled.

    Eat Moderate Portions. Chocolate is a high-calorie food. Over indulge, and the health benefits of dark chocolate can be quickly outweighed by the problems of weight gain.

    Avoid the High Calorie Extras. The health benefits of dark chocolate come from the antioxidants in the cocoa solids. All of the other ingredients, like sugar, and any extras, like nougat, caramel, marshmallow, etc., just add calories.

    Do Not Consume With Milk. For some reason, not yet scientifically understood, the health benefits of dark chocolate are basically negated if the dark chocolate is consumed with milk