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Dark Chocolate Improves Night Vision -- and More!

Updated on September 22, 2015
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Ms. Clark has a solid appreciation for hard science and likes to share interesting things she learns in the course of her research.

Nope, the title to this hub is not a mistake. This research project has brought some interesting results. First the information I found on carrots, and then I will get to the new findings on chocolate . . . yes, chocolate! Chocolate can improve your eyesight!! And that’s not all.

Can carrots make your eyesight better? Some people think they can while other people think not. I have been told all of my life that eating carrots will make my eyesight better. Recently a friend told me that generally accepted belief had turned out to be wrong. My friend told me that the generally accepted belief that carrots can improve a person's eyesight, and especially their night vision, had been debunked.

Since I know carrots contain beta-carotene (learned that in my nutrition class at the university), and that beta-carotene can be turned into vitamin A by the liver, and that vitamin A is directly related to healthy eyes and eyesight, in my mind I questioned my friend’s statement. Then an idea for a new hub was born!

Carrots provide important nutrients for you whole body, especially your eyes.
Carrots provide important nutrients for you whole body, especially your eyes. | Source
Dark chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa is good for your eyes and for your brain.
Dark chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa is good for your eyes and for your brain. | Source

Vitamin A Is An Important Ingredient In Your Diet

Vitamin A has always been considered important for a lot of things, but it is believed to contribute especially to good eye health and vision. I did not challenge my friend’s statement at the time -- that eating carrots had no effect on eyesight. Instead, I decided I would research whether or not it was still considered true that carrots do in fact improve a person’s eyesight. I just wanted to see if something had changed since I took that nutrition class at the university nearly 10 years ago.

Yes, believe it or not, things that have been considered scientific facts for a long time are sometimes changing as new information is discovered. Our new and improved technology is making it possible to learn more details about things we thought we knew, and sometimes that means modifying or completely changing what were previously thought to be scientific facts. So rather than arguing with my friend, I decided to do a little research to see what I would find.

Most eye specialists still agree that carrots can improve nutrition, which in turn will improve eyesight – if that vision problem is attributable to poor nutrit

“According to Dr Amy Chow, O.D, an eye doctor at Cupertino Family Eye Care Center, carrots can improve your eyesight. They contain beta-carotene, which is turned into vitamin A by the liver. The vitamin A is absorbed by retinal cells in the eyes so you can see,” (Robbertt).

Professor Algis Vingrys of the University of Melbourne's Department of Optometry and Vision Services, is reported on ABC’s Health and Well Being blog as saying, “A diet with sufficient vitamin A, iron and other provitamins (substances that our bodies can convert into vitamins) is vital for eye health, (Ryan).

According to Professor Vingrys, night blindness may be the first sign of vitamin A deficiency, and that vitamin A deficiency is usually quite severe by the time night blindness is noticed as a problem by an individual. He also says eating carrots can improve night vision if you have a vitamin A deficiency, but if your diet is already balanced, eating more carrots will have no affect.

Cheryl Murphy, Optometrist, writing on the Scientific American blog, expresses it somewhat differently. She agrees that proper nutrition is important for healthy eyes and can even help slow the advancement of certain eye conditions and diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration, but she says there is no magical cure for the need for glasses or contacts.

Carrots Can Improve a Person’s Eyesight

So it turns out that carrots can help a person’s eyesight, because vitamin A (manufactured by the human body from beta carotene) directly effects eye health, vision, and night vision. Carrots are a good source of beta carotene, so they are a good way to get the necessary vitamin A your body needs to be healthy -- not limited to just effecting your vision.

In fact, according to the experts in vision that I found listed on the Internet, and there are many more than I have listed in my reference section, if one is deficient in vitamin A, then eating carrots can improve one’s vision and one’s health generally. Will eating carrots improve a person’s eyesight to the point where they will no longer require corrective lenses? Not likely.

Chocolate Lovers Rejoice! Dark Chocolate Improves Eyesight!

Interestingly, Cheryl Murphy talks about a study that was done this last May on the effect of cocoa flavanols. The study found that persons who consumed dark chocolate showed improvement in both cognitive and visual performance in as little as two hours after eating the dark chocolate!

So, what it seems to boil down to is that carrots are a good source of beta-carotene, which the human body turns into vitamin A, which in turn contributes to better overall heath as well as healthy eyes and better night vision.

Eating carrots can help improve your vision if your vision is defective because of poor nutrition, but if your poor vision is a result of genetics, or some other cause than poor nutrition, eating carrots is not likely to help.

More studies are needed according to Cheryl Murphy, but it is looking like eating dark chocolate may actually help improve your eyesight more than carrots do! How long before mothers everywhere are saying to their children, “Finish your chocolate Sweetheart, so you will grow strong and have good eyesight!”

References for this hub:

Robbertt. Do Carrots Improve Your Eyesight? Healthmad.com. 26 May 2008. Online. Internet. 25 November 2011. Available http://healthmad.com/health/do-carrots-improve-your-eyesight/

Ryan, Claudine. Can Eating Carrots Improve Your Eyesight? ABC Health and Well Being. 19 March 2008. Online. Internet. 25 November 2011. Available http://www.abc.net.au/health/talkinghealth/factbuster/stories/2008/03/19/2176569.htmhttp://www.abc.net.au/health/talkinghealth/factbuster/stories/2008/03/19/2176569.htm

Murphy, Cheryl. Will Carrots Help You See Better? No, But Chocolate Might. Scientific American. 3 August 2011. Online. Internet. 25 November 2011. Available http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2011/08/03/will-carrots-help-you-see-better-no-but-chocolate-might/

© 2011 C E Clark

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