A glass of red wine positioned next to a cutting board with pieces of dark chocolate adorned with nuts and dried fruit on a picnic setting, complemented by a scattering of corks and a newspaper underneath. The setting is outdoors on a sunny day, capturing a leisurely moment of enjoyment with wine and chocolate.
Naturally Healthy Living, The Healthy Plate

Why Dark Chocolate and Red Wine are Essential for Healthy Eyes!

Guest post contributed by Dr. Tessa Sokol, OD

Disclaimer: The following information has not been approved by the FDA. This information should not be interpreted as medical advice and is not a substitute for a visit with a medical care professional. Always speak to your doctor about any health concerns. 

With summer celebrations going strong, some of us may be feeling a bit guilty for having that glass of red wine on the outdoor patio, or that extra piece of chocolate at the dinner party last weekend.

Well, fret no longer! Dark chocolate and red wine are actually good for your vision and can protect you from a number of diseases in your eyes! You probably don’t feel as guilty now, right? Eat and drink up! Here’s a toast to your ocular health!

Why Is Dark Chocolate Good for Your Vision?

Much to the delight of chocolate lovers, dark chocolate has started to develop a reputation as a health food (when consumed in moderation, mind you.) The cocoa in it contains polyphenols called flavonoids, which are compounds that can exert a number of effects on the body, such as reducing inflammation, increasing blood flow and acting as an antioxidant. Because the health benefits come from the cocoa, choosing dark chocolate (70% or greater) is important!

How, exactly, does this help your eyes?

Chronic systemic inflammation leads to oxidative damage to our bodies. In the eyes, this inflammation can create redness, pain, and blurred vision. Long term, it also can lead to serious sight-threatening eye diseases like Macular Degeneration! Reducing inflammation with food — like dark chocolate — is critical to preserving healthy eyes and retinas as we age.

Eating dark chocolate is also believed to increase blood flow to the brain, retina and optic nerve, which, as a result, can better your vision. Scientists discovered that adults who ate a bar of dark chocolate saw a significant increase in visual clarity, motion detection, and contrast sensitivity in the 2 hours after consumption.

This was compared to adults who ate milk chocolate and saw no visual improvement at all. The researchers suggest this result might be due to this increased blood flow to the eye.

Glaucoma is an eye disease that results in damage to the optic nerve and leads to blindness. The good news is that the antioxidant properties of the flavonoids found in dark chocolate can aid in the reduction of oxidative stress on the optic nerve, which in turn can protect the eyes from further damage.

In addition to all of these benefits, the copper found in dark chocolate has been found to prevent damage to the optic nerve as well. While people only need a small amount of copper per day, dark chocolate has over half of the recommended daily dose. This means that after one serving of dark chocolate, you’re well on your way to optic nerve health!

By eating chocolate, the quality of your vision may improve, but I’m sorry to break the news to you that eating massive amounts of chocolate will never get you to ditch the eyeglasses! No amount of chocolate will change your glasses prescription.

Nevertheless, as the wise woman used to say, when one cannot live on chocolate alone, add a bit of wine!

Why Is Red Wine Good for Your Vision?

Red wine seems to have always been linked to health benefits for the body, but studies now show that red wine helps eye health too! Red wine contains a chemical compound called resveratrol that is found in the skin of certain red grapes.

Resveratrol is a phytoalexin, which is a substance made by the tissues of plants to help combat infection from a pathogen and works as a part of the plant’s defense system. While you can also find it in grape juice, Resveratrol is 1,000 times more concentrated in red wine because of fermentation.

Scientists have found that resveratrol helps prevent the formation of abnormal blood vessels in some forms of blinding eye diseases like Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Diabetic Retinopathy. This is very important because it is those blood vessels that have the biggest damaging impact on eyesight in the advanced stages of the disease.

Coupled with high doses of the antioxidant zeaxanthin, Resveratrol has also been shown to even reverse early damage to the retina (drusen). This is groundbreaking information, given there are no other treatments at this stage! Resveratrol is as close to an anti-aging substance as you can get!

While drinking any form of alcohol excessively can have detrimental effects on your body, moderately drinking red wine may help you have healthy eyes. Adding that dark chocolate along with it will give you an additional little boost!

Who said being healthy had to be hard work?


Dr. Tessa Sokol

1 Rabin J, OD, MS, PhD; Karunathilake N, BS, MS; Patrizi K, BS Effects of Milk vs Dark Chocolate Consumption on Visual Acuity and Contrast Sensitivity Within 2 Hours, JAMA Ophthalmol. 2018;136(6):678-681.


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