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Can Dark Chocolate Improve Eye Function?

A new study published in the journal, Physiology & Behavior, claims that consumption of cocoa flavanols may enhance aspects of eye function.  In recent years, there has been heightened awareness of the advantages of eating foods containing flavanols. The findings of the study demonstrate that dark chocolate is able to increase visual contrast sensitivity in healthy young adults and decrease the time required to sense motion direction. These are the kind of skills required for everyday tasks, such as driving. The trial involved 30 healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 25, who consumed both dark chocolate and a similar amount of white chocolate, with a period of one week in between testing sessions. Improvements in visual performance were observed approximately 2.5 hours after the intake of the flavanols. The results of the trial found that cocoa flavanols increased visual contrast sensitivity and “improved spatial memory and performance on some aspects of the choice reaction time task.” The researchers’ theory is that these results may be due to the intensified cerebral blood flow caused by the flavanols.* Nancy Hirsch Certified Nutritionist

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