Eating chocolate every day could improve your eyesight!
I just read a study published in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology.
It found that 70% of the people scored higher on a vision test after eating a dark chocolate bar compared to milk chocolate.1
It makes sense.
Afterall, dark chocolate is made of flavanol-rich cacao. And there’s been plenty of research that shows regularly eating dietary flavanols promotes healthy blood vessel function in the heart and brain.
So it only goes to reason that these same benefits apply to your eyes.
Unfortunately, as the authors of the study point out, the effects of eating chocolate for your vision don’t last very long. So, you’d have to eat plenty of chocolate every day to get any benefits.
Now, I love good chocolate as much as the next person. But there is a much better way to improve your vision. I’m talking about vitamin A.
Our modern diet is starving your eyes of this essential nutrient.
With our industrial, grain-based food supply, most Americans get just a tiny fraction of the vitamin A they need. Our primal ancestors got 10 times more vitamin A from their food than we get today.2
Most doctors will tell you to eat carrots and orange vegetables like squash to get your vitamin A. But these vegetables are not your best source…
You see, orange and red vegetables contain beta-carotene. It’s called a “pro-vitamin A.”
Your body has to convert it to retinol, the active form of vitamin A. But your body doesn’t make that conversion very efficiently.
For every 6 units of beta-carotene you eat, you only get 1 unit of vitamin A. Even if you consumed 25,000 units of beta-carotene, you wouldn’t get enough for the day.
And millions of people can’t make that conversion. They include diabetics, children and people with poor thyroid function or high stress levels.
That’s why I recommend you get your vitamin A from animal products and animal fats. That means grass-fed liver, fish, eggs, cheese and raw milk.
Your eye doctor will tell you that you only need 2,000 to 3,000 IU of vitamin A every day. But that’s not nearly enough. Our ancestors got about 20,000 to 30,000 IU per day from their diet.
I recommend you get at least 5,000 IU daily.
Our ancestors got enough of vitamin A because their primal diet included plenty organ meat and brightly colored vegetables. Beef liver is nature’s most concentrated source of this vitamin. Just 3 ounces of beef liver delivers more than 15,000 IU — or 545% of your daily value (DV) of vitamin A. Carrots and sweet potatoes are also a good source.
Read Tiny Print Again with These 3 Vision-Boosting Nutrients
If you’re like me, it seems like the newspaper print gets smaller and smaller. So to keep your eyes in top shape, I recommend taking a variety of vision-boosting supplements daily.
- Try nature’s top two eyesight savers. Two of the best nutrients for improving vision and protecting your eye health are lutein and zeaxanthin. In fact, your eyes can’t function without them. According to a Harvard study, those with the lowest levels of zeaxanthin and lutein in their eyes were significantly more likely to suffer from vision loss.3 In fact, if you have low levels, your vision loss risk goes up almost 75%.
Additional studies found that eating foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin can increase the pigment density in the macula… and therefore lower the risk of macular degeneration.
Your best food sources for lutein and zeaxanthin are dark, leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and collard greens. But it’s not easy getting enough from your foods. I recommend supplementing with 20 mg of lutein and 1 mg of zeaxanthin.
- Supplement with the oldest tree on earth. Ginkgo biloba boosts healthy blood circulation to your eyes and reduces inflammation. And studies show that supplementing with this herb improved the vision of people with glaucoma. That’s important. Because your risk factor for developing glaucoma increases every year as you age.
I recommend getting at least 50 mg a day to support your vision.
- Start at the top. Old-fashioned eye charts always have the letter E at the top. In my book, that E stands for vitamin E — one of the most important nutrients you can “feed” your eyes. It works together with vitamins A and C to keep cells in the eyes free from the damaging effects of inflammation. As you know, inflammation is the root cause of almost every disease — including diseases of the eyes. If not treated, it can lead to vision loss and even macular degeneration.
In fact, some studies have found that supplementing with vitamin E can lower your risk of developing this blinding eye condition, especially when combined with vitamin A.
I recommend taking at least 400 IU a day.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. Rabin JC, et al. “Effects of milk vs dark chocolate consumption on visual acuity and contrast sensitivity within 2 hours: A randomized clinical trial.” JAMA Ophthalmol. 2018;136(6):678-681.
2. Price WA. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. New York: Paul B. Hoeber, Inc., 1939.
3. Seddon JM, et al. “Dietary carotenoids, vitamins A, C, and E, and advanced age-related macular degeneration. Eye Disease Case-Control Study Group.” JAMA. 1994;272(18):1413-1420.