Were you ever told by your Mother while growing up that eating lots of carrots would give you good eyesight? Most of us have probably heard that at one time or another, but is there any truth to it? We all know it’s good to eat out vegetables, it will give us all the essential vitamins and minerals our bodies need to stay fit and healthy. So I wanted to take an in depth look at carrots and exactly what they do for you health wise.
Are Carrots Good for Eyesight
Well, I hate to break it to you, but all those times your folks may of been telling you carrots would give you super powered eyes may not of been true. Although carrots will not improve your eyesight, they still play a huge role in keeping your eyes from deteriorating in the event there is a vitamin A deficiency. Carrots are rich in vitamin A which is essential for keeping good eyesight. Even though carrots do not contain the actual vitamin A, they do have beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A when broke down in our bodies.
The retina is located in the back of your eye and Vitamin A is essential in preventing macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is a common eye disease that’s associated with getting older. This form of degeneration may lead to weakening eyesight or even result in blindness.
What Does Vitamin A Do
Vitamin A, once absorbed into the retina, produces a purple pigment known as Rhodopsin. Rhodopsin is important in aiding your vision in low light conditions. Then you have beta-carotene, which acts as a filter that protects the eyes lens. This all aids in preventing cataracts. But it is possible to over do it on the beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is a form of orange pigment, and there are some side effects to it. In excessive amounts, it may turn your skin a yellow or orange color. This is known as Carotenemia. Even though carrots are known to be high in vitamin A, there are also many other green vegetables that contain large amounts of vitamin A. So as long as we’re eating a well balances diet that contains plenty of vegetables, that will give our bodies all the nutrients we need for good vision.
Where did the Saying Come From
Some time during WWII, the erroneous belief that carrots would give you excellent night vision was formed. Interestingly enough, the Royal Air Force spread a rumor that their pilots were gaining super night vision by eating extra carrots. And that this was giving them a major advantage over their Nazi enemies. Of course this was a flat out lie and was designed as a diversion to what was really happening. They had actually designed a secret airborne radar system, which was the real advantage they had.
There was one RAF pilot that took on the nick name of “Cat’s Eyes” because he had outstanding night vision. He also had an awesome record of shooting down enemy aircraft during the night. I’m sure you can guess this one, but all his accomplishments were attributed to eating lots of good ole carrots. This rumor became so widely known that eventually even their own forces believe it. Soon they were all eating their fare share of carrots in the belief it would help them find their way around during blackouts. Even though food rations were quite scarce during these hard times, you can bet there were plenty of carrots available!
So what have we learned? Carrots may not improve your vision, but they will keep it from deteriorating. So sorry to say, but it’s still a good idea to eat your veggies. So for all you that are reading this in hopes of finding a new out from eating carrots, sorry I couldn’t help. Believe me, I’ve been searching for a logical excuse for a long, long time! 🙂