You are what you eat is a concept well known to us all. Now, a new study comes to show that what you eat also influences how well you see. And you’re going to love this.
If you want to improve your photopic vision, you can enjoy a nice hot cocoa and eat your fill of delicious red berries. Both cocoa and berries are rich in polyphenols. Researchers believe these compounds play a role in increased visual acuity.
Read on to learn more.
What Is Photopic Vision?
To define photopic vision, we need to have a look at the three types of vision.
The eyes use the photoreceptors in the retina to convert light stimuli into neural signals that go straight to the brain for decoding and interpretation. There are two types of neuroreceptors in the retina, the rods and the cones.
- The cones are responsible for vision in bright light and this is called photopic vision.
- Rods take over at night, in low light levels, and this is called scotopic vision.
- A third type of vision occurs in intermediate light conditions, mesopic vision, which involves both rods and cones.
The cones that determine the photopic response have a high visual acuity and provide the eye’s sensitivity to colors. There are 6-7 million cone cells in the human eye.
Almost two-thirds of these (64%) are considered “red” cones, which means they are involved in detecting the various shades of red. For the rest, 32% are “green” cones, and only 2% are “blue” cones, but they also have the highest sensitivity.
The most simple photopic definition is what you see in broad daylight, especially how well you perceive colors.
Problems with photopic vision appear mostly in the elderly. With age, the eye starts losing its spatial contrast sensitivity. This explains why older people require bright light to read a text that a young adult would have no problem with under normal lighting conditions.
According to a study published by the Journal of Functional Foods, including cocoa and berries in your diet will help you improve your photopic vision. It doesn’t work only for the elderly, as healthy young adults also registered an increased visual acuity.
Cocoa Benefits for Photopic Vision
Cocoa is a major source of polyphenols, micronutrients that act like antioxidants and provide many health benefits.
Cocoa is rich in flavanols, which belong in the greater flavonoids family. These are known for their antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Flavonoids also help with vasodilation and protect the liver.
Cocoa is also an excellent source of theobromine, the compound that gives dark chocolate a bitter taste. Just like caffeine, theobromine is a stimulant, but it has a lesser psychoactive effect and does not cause blood pressure spikes.
At the same time, cocoa is one of the most nutrient-dense foods available. One ounce (28 grams) of cocoa provides 52% RDA of manganese, 50% RDA of copper, 33% RDA of magnesium, and 24% RDA of iron, as well as significant doses of phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.
Here are the main cocoa health benefits.
Protection Against Cardiovascular and Neurological Conditions
Researchers believe that cocoa’s beneficial actions on the cardiovascular and neurological systems directly and indirectly influence photopic vision.
The main benefit of consuming cocoa is that it reduces blood pressure. Theobromine especially is a vasodilator, which means that it makes blood vessels widen, allowing blood to flow easier. This results in a lower blood pressure, which protects the heart.
Increased blood flow to the eye and reduced blood pressure have a positive effect on photopic vision.
Stimulation of the Nervous System
Both the flavanols and the theobromine in cocoa stimulate the central nervous system, increasing neural activity. They improve focus and the processing of visual information, which results in better photopic vision. At the same time, cocoa consumption leads to mood improvement and cognitive enhancement.
How Much Cocoa Do You Need to Improve Photopic Vision?
According to the study mentioned above, to reap the benefits of the polyphenols and theobromine in coffee, you need to consume 2.5 grams of cocoa per day. Unfortunately, this is not a license to eat as many cookies as you want. You need to focus on products that contain lots of cocoa.
If you look at theobromine content, for instance, there are 2,634 mg of this compound in 100g of unsweetened raw cocoa powder, but only 802 mg in 100g of dark chocolate.
Red Berries Benefits for Photopic Vision
Red berries like goji berries (wolfberries) enjoy quite a reputation as a superfood, as they are loaded with antioxidants and provide many essential nutrients. Just like cocoa, red berries are rich in polyphenols, namely anthocyanins, which improve photopic vision.
Anthocyanins belong in the flavonoids class and are known for their antioxidant effect. They fight against free radicals and promote cellular health, including at eye level. Anthocyanins are pigments that give berries their red or purple color. They also have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anticancer properties.
Modern research into red berries benefits follows along the lines already established in traditional medicine. Red berries have been used for centuries to combat heart problems. Recent studies confirm that they can help improve blood vessel health, reduce high blood pressure, and treat diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic retinopathy is a condition caused by damage to the blood vessels in the retina. The main symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include blurred vision, color impairment, floaters, and trouble focusing. In advanced stages, it can lead to vision loss.
Eating red berries keeps blood pressure under control and protects the retina, while also improving photopic vision.
The Bottom Line
As both cocoa and red berries provide eye health benefits, you want to include both foods in your diet.
One easy way to take advantage of the benefits of berries on your vision is to take a natural vision supplement.
SightC is a full-spectrum vision health supplement packed with the health benefits of goji berries and other plants. It’s rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients for your eyes.
Learn more about SightC and how it can help keep your eyes healthy.