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CHOCOLATE

The next time someone asks why “everything that tastes good is bad for you,” tell them about chocolate. It seems that eating chocolate with a high cocoa content may be as good for vision as eating carrots. In fact, researchers recently found that, after eating 35 grams of dark chocolate, study participants’ vision improved by 17 percent (as measured by testing). The benefit (the effects of which may last for several hours) seems to come from compounds in cocoa beans known as “flavonols,” which may improve blood flow to the retina and brain. This finding may have particular importance for older individuals who experience declines in contrast sensitivity. Eating dark chocolate may actually help these individuals see better at night. The benefit described above comes from dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, not milk chocolate or chocolate candy with caramel centers or other ingredients.