A diet that will keep your eyes strong doesn’t involve only eating fruits and veggies like broccoli, kiwi, and mangoes. Don’t get me wrong, those are delicious everyday foods, but when I’m sitting back watching Netflix for the evening, dark chocolate and red wine sound a little more appealing. In an almost too-good-to-be-true moment, new research suggests this mouth-watering power duo can help protect our vision as we age.
Woman’s World spoke to VSP Network eye doctor, Christine Joy, OD, to learn more about the positive effects of dark chocolate and red wine for eye sight. “With the numerous eye health benefits of both red wine and dark chocolate, consuming them together may help boost the positive effects,” she explains. “Since they work in different ways, it is beneficial to consume both.”
Dr. Joy highlights a recent study published in JAMA Ophthalmology, which associated eating a whole bar of dark chocolate with improvements in vision two hours after consumption. Compared to milk chocolate, dark varieties contain nutritional compounds called cocoa flavanols. These compounds have been shown to protect the retina against oxidative stress that can lead to eye conditions such as retinal vein occlusion, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy over time.
For similar reasons, red wine is also a staple for eye health because it’s full of flavonoids such as anthocyanins and quercetin, that also reduce oxidative stress and improve blood circulation in eyes. Previous research has noted that these flavonoids and others found in red wine go a long way to lowering the risk of cataracts as we get older. Essentially, dark chocolate and red wine are an ideal combo for keeping your vision in tip-top shape. Dr. Joy gives her recommendation for enjoying both in moderation: “Try not to exceed more than a one to two ounce serving of dark chocolate or one glass of red wine each day.”
Dr. Joy also encourages everyone to book an annual eye exam with an eye doctor, which you can find in your local area on VSP’s website (VSP.com/eye-doctor). Other key vitamin and antioxidant-rich foods she says you should be targeting to preserve your eyesight include those high in vitamins C, E and A, like red peppers, almonds, and sweet potatoes; foods that contain antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin like kale and spinach; foods that are high in zinc like chicken and eggs and foods that are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids like salmon.
This means we can all eat our way to better eye health, which includes some dark chocolate and sipping a glass of red as a way to celebrate better vision!