Carrots and nutrition for the eyes

You’ve likely heard that eating carrots helps improve our vision. But is this just a myth told by parents everywhere to get their kids to gobble down more vegetables? Not quite. As it turns out, Mom and Dad are right…mostly.

Vitamin A and vision make potent allies. Carrots contain lots of beta carotene and Vitamin A, which can contribute to your eyes’ health and may provide a fantastic source of eye vitamins for macular degeneration and cataracts.

Good sources of Vitamin A and rhodopsin are also abundant in carrots. Rhodopsin is a purple pigment that helps us see in low light situations. Without enough rhodopsin, we wouldn’t be able to see very well at night, even with a cloudless sky and bright full moon.

So this begs the question: Could eating carrots morning, noon and night give you extraordinary powers to see like an owl on the blackest nights? Umm, no. While carrots offer many beneficial vitamins for your eyes, they will not turn you into a superhero. (But they can turn your skin slightly orange, if you eat too many!)

In an interesting turn, the myth of carrots and vision stems from World War II. Most food was in short supply then—but not carrots. The British Royal Air Force credited eating carrots with an increased ability to see the enemy in the dark. This rumor was set in motion to motivate more people to eat carrots. Today, this vision-related scuttlebutt still exists and, as we’ve seen, there is some truth—along with some exaggeration—to it.

 

 

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