By Michael Hutton 

Improve eyesight  by eating dark chocolate is the conclusion of new research recently reported in Science Direct. Researchers at the University of Reading discovered that dark chocolate which contains high levels of coca flavenols may boost eyesight and brain health by improving blood flow to the retina and brain. The research suggests that the effects may last for several hours after consumption of the chocolate. At a time when eye diseases such as myopia (short-sightedness) are reaching almost epidemic levels across the world, research efforts to find suitable treatments and preventative approaches are being intensified.

The University of Reading researchers constructed a statistically controlled trial in which 30 healthy adults ate both dark chocolate containing 720 mg of cocoa flavanols and a matched quantity of white chocolate, with a one week interval between testing sessions. The trial participants were then assessed in terms of their performance in determining visual contrast sensitivity, motion sensitivity and cognitive performance. The researchers found relative to the control condition, cocoa flavanols improve eyesight  in terms of visual contrast sensitivity and reduced the time required to detect motion direction as well as improving spatial memory.

There have been a number of studies published recently which suggest that diet can be a significant factor in helping to improve eyesight  and this latest research will add more support to the view that diet matters. In particular, a number of investigations have strongly suggested that diets rich in Omega-3 fatty acids as found in certain types of fish and other oily foods are especially good in helping to improve eye health. As modern life encourages us to spend too much time indoors under artificial light staring closely at screens - TV, PC and smart phone - it is essential that every effort is made to find ways including dietary changes of keeping our eyes healthy.

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