You’ve heard it time and again, probably from the time you were old enough to…well, eat a carrot-‘eating carrots will give you fantastic eyesight.’ Although we’ve all had our suspicious that this was just a way to get us to eat healthy, there’s a part of you that believes it because you’ve heard it so many times. But is there any truth to the carrot vision connection?
Are Carrots Good For Your Eyes?
“Yes, carrots are great for eye health, but they will not improve your eyesight if you already have impaired vision.”
Carrots are not endowed with magical properties that can restore lost vision or correct defects, but they are certainly good for your eyes because of their high content of beta-carotene.
Beta-carotene is an organic pigment found in certain plants, and this substance is converted into vitamin A when ingested. This is important for eye health, as vitamin A plays an important role in maintaining and protecting the cornea, which is the surface of the eye. In fact, vitamin A deficiencies are a common cause of vision loss in childhood, as the cornea literally disappears, leading to blindness.
Researchers have also found that healthy levels of vitamin A are essential for the eyes to be able to convert light into signals that can be sent to the brain. Without this ability, it would be impossible to see under low light conditions.
Studies now show that the combination of vitamin A with other antioxidant vitamins helps lower the risk of degenerative eye disease-carrots after all contain this perfect nutritional balance.
Why We Associate Carrots With Better Vision
As in the case with many food associations and old wives tales, there’s nothing scientific about the origins of the carrot and eye sight connection. To cover up technological advances and the use of radar during World War II, the British Air Force spread a propaganda story, attributing their ace pilots stunning success to better night vision from a diet of carrots!
At the same time much of the country had forced blackouts to protect against air raids, making the need for better vision or night vision even more desirable, leading to more carrot production and consumption! Since then, there’s been no separating carrots from vision and the belief is prevalent across the world. Fortunately, in this instance there was some truth to the myth.
If you don;t particularly like carrots, you can also eat foods like sweet potatoes, musk melons, and spinach-they’re all rich in beta carotenes that are good for your eye health.