Carrots for Vision Health
Popular around the world, carrots are crunchy and highly nutritious root vegetables.
They’re commonly claimed to keep your eyes healthy and improve night vision.
However, you may wonder about the origin of this idea and whether it’s supported by science.
This article tells you whether carrots benefit your eyes and provides other tips to keep your vision healthy.
Carrots and eye health
It has long been believed that eating carrots promotes eye health and improves your eyesight, especially at night.
Though there is truth to this, the association between carrots and eyesight originated from a myth.
During World War II, British Royal Air Force pilots first began using radar to target and shoot down enemy planes. In an effort to keep this new technology a secret, the visual accuracy of the pilots — especially at night — was attributed to eating carrots.
This led to a longstanding propaganda campaign that promoted carrots for better eyesight. This embellished link between eating carrots and improved night vision remains today.
However, although they’re not quite the magic eye food they were marketed to be during World War II, carrots do contain certain compounds that are good for your eyes.
High in antioxidants that benefit eye health
Carrots are a rich source of beta carotene and lutein, which are antioxidants that can help prevent eye damage caused by free radicals.
Free radicals are compounds that can lead to cellular damage, aging, and chronic illnesses, including eye diseases, when their numbers become too high
Beta carotene gives many red, orange, and yellow plants their coloring. Orange carrots are especially high in beta carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A. Deficiency in vitamin A can lead to night blindness, which is often reversible by supplementing
Vitamin A is needed to form rhodopsin, which is the reddish-purple, light-sensitive pigment in your eye cells that helps you see at night
Your body absorbs and utilizes beta carotene more efficiently when you eat cooked carrots rather than raw ones. Furthermore, vitamin A and its precursors are fat-soluble, so eating carrots with a fat source improves absorption
Yellow carrots contain the most lutein, which may help prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition in which your vision is gradually blurred or lost.
Diets rich in lutein may be especially protective against AMD