If you celebrate Easter in the U.S., you know that soon it will be time to leave out carrots for the Easter bunny. The fluffy guy must have terrific eyesight after eating so many carrots—or is that just an old wive’s tale? Here, find out more about how carrots and beta-carotene contribute to your eye health.
How Carrots Became Linked With Eyesight
In World War Two, German pilots found themselves with a pressing question: How did the British Air Force manage to spot German planes in the dead of night? The real answer, of course, was recently-adopted radar technology. In order to keep their new secret weapon a secret, the U.K. government launched a PR campaign insisting that British pilots ate massive amounts of carrots, which made them able see in the dark. Civilians were even encouraged to eat as much of the vegetable as possible, in order to function better during blackouts.
The Truth Amidst the Myth
Carrots really are rich in beta-carotene, a naturally-occurring pigment that nourishes the eye tissues. The body uses beta-carotene to make Vitamin A, which helps the eye convert light into a signal that can be transmitted to the brain. Studies done in settings where people suffer from extreme Vitamin A deficiencies, such as Nepal and India, have showed that Vitamin A or beta carotene supplements do help improve all vision, including night vision.
So, How Many Carrots Should I Eat in Order to See Better?
When it comes to first-world countries like America, eating carrots is likely to have much less of an impact on your eye health. This is because the body naturally regulates against excess amounts of vitamin A, because too much can be toxic. Once you have enough beta-carotene in your body, it often will no longer convert to vitamin A. In fact, if a person eats too many carrots, his or her skin may turn slightly orange.
So, What Foods are Good For My Eyes?
Most eye problems stem from issues like genetics, injuries, aging, or diabetes, and cannot be aided with an infusion of beta-carotene. However, you can still keep your eyes as strong as possible by eating green, leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, which have been shown to protect against macular degeneration.
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If you’re looking for a Raleigh, NC eye doctor, hop on over to Raleigh Eye Center to get the best in Raleigh eye care. We offer eye exams, professional contact and eyeglass fittings, and more. For more information, be sure to check out our website or call us today.