Carrots – Do They Really Help Your Eyesight?

As a child, were you told to eat all of your carrots so you see in the dark? Did you ever stop to wonder whether this was true, or just a story you were told to encourage you to eat your vegetables?

In this article, we’ll take a look at the myths, the facts, and the rumors, and explore whether those delicious orange vegetables, lurking in your salad, can help you to see the world better.

How Carrots Helped to Win World War II…or Did They?

It’s the dead of night during World War II. A squadron of British Royal Air Force pilots has just returned from a successful mission to gun down German aircraft. The secret of their success? Carrots.

According to a campaign launched by the UK’s Ministry of Food, a diet rich in carrots gave the intrepid British pilots night-vision that helped them to take aim in the darkest conditions and complete their mission.

But things may have not been how they seemed. A few decades later, rumors were circulating that the Royal Air Force had made up the stories as a cover up for radar technology, but we like the story just the same.

And the question still remains: Can carrots really help your eyesight?

Well, the answer is yes, under the right conditions, eating carrots can help to improve eyesight.

The Truth About Carrots and Eye Health

If you love carrots for their taste and vibrant color, the fact that they can benefit eye health and eyesight is just one more reason to love this vitamin-packed vegetable. Carrots are loaded with antioxidants, namely beta carotene and lutein. These antioxidants are great at fighting free radicals in your body that can cause cell damage, aging, eye diseases, and other chronic diseases.

By eating a diet that includes these antioxidants you can help to improve your eye health. The beta carotene contained in carrots is converted into vitamin A, or retinol, a vitamin that helps to combat night blindness and improve overall eye health. Vitamin A is essential to converting light into signals that are then transmitted to your brain. The more vitamin A you have, the better you will be able to see in low light conditions.

So, I Should Just Eat Lots of Carrots?

While carrots help increase your vitamin A levels, it would be very difficult to eat enough carrots to Vitamin A can also be toxic to humans if there is too much in the body. The good news is that the body naturally regulates vitamin A levels to avoid this.

If you have too much beta carotene in your body, you might find that your skin turns orange or yellow. Those magazine and online ads for miraculous tanning tablets that give you a “tan” without any exposure to the sun, it’s beta carotene that is responsible. But does anybody really want to look as orange as a carrot?

How to Improve Your Vision Naturally

Good vision can help you to perform well at work, at home and also behind the wheel. By taking a few simple steps, you can help to keep your eyesight at its best. Here are some ways you can look after your eye health and improve your eyesight:

  • Eat a balanced diet of foods that are rich in antioxidants, such as vitamin A and vitamin C. Carrots, leafy green vegetables and fish are great vision-healthy foods.
  • Good sleep patterns can help to support your eye health.
  • Wearing sunglasses can help to protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet light. Choose sunglasses that have both UVA and UVB protection.
  • Limit screen time. Mobile phones and computer screens expose your eyes to high energy blue light.

Each step you can take to maintain and improve your eye health can go a long way in maintaining proper vision in the long run. One of the best ways you can keep your eyesight in check with is with regular eye exams. Not only can regular exams ensure that you get the best care and prescription, but can also help to maintain eye health as you get older.

AIA’s Vision Care benefit provides vision care and prescription savings plans. To learn more, click here.

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