Are Carrots Good For Your Eyes?
The Truth About Carrots and Your Eyesight
Are carrots good for your eyes or was that just something your mother told you as a child to get you to eat your veggies? I remember being told carrots would give me 20/20 vision and prevent me from ever having to get glasses. As a daily contact wearer today and also having carrots being one of my most hated foods, maybe there was some truth to the old wives’ tale of eating carrots being good for your eyes.
Are Carrots Good For Your Eyes?
The first claim that carrots are good for your eyes actually began during World War II. The British Royal Air Force used it as part of a successful propaganda campaign to keep pilots from being shot down. The story goes that British pilots were eating a lot of carrots, which helped them better see German planes in the dark.Try Amazon Fresh
While there’s no doubt that carrots are a nutritious food, there’s no scientific evidence to support the claim that they can improve your eyesight. However, carrots are a good source of beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for vision and maintaining a healthy immune system.
Vitamin A also does help transmit light into a signal that’s sent to the brain giving improved eyesight in low light conditions. So there is a little truth to the theory of being able to see better in the dark.
Vitamin A deficiency is one of the main causes of blindness in children as the cornea can shrink or disappear if there is not enough vitamin A in the body. Some studies show that countries like Nepal and India where people may suffer from malnutrition or unbalanced diets did see improvements in night vision when carrot consumption was increased.
If you have bad vision not caused by vitamin A deficiency or other genetic eye disorders, increasing your carrot intake won’t make much of a difference for your eyesight as these conditions may require medical treatment.
Can You Eat Too Many Carrots?
Even good things should be taken in moderation. There can be some negative effects if you eat too many carrots. You’ve probably heard the old wives’ tale that eating too many carrots can turn your skin orange. It sounds silly but there is actually some truth behind it. Too much beta-carotene can cause carotenemia.
Carotenemia occurs when there’s an increased amount of beta-carotene in the blood. It may cause a yellow or orange pigment in your skin, especially in locations where the skin is thick like your hands and feet.
Waking up orange may get you some odd looks but have no fear, it’s pretty harmless. Its only real side effect is the pigment change to your skin. Babies are more susceptible to carotenemia. If you develop carotenemia, it won’t require medical treatment. You should just decrease your carrot and overall beta-carotene consumption and it should go away on its own within a few weeks.
Consuming too much of anything will throw off the balance in your nutrition. Eating too many carrots can also cause constipation and in rare cases, vitamin A toxicity.
Ideally, you should be safe eating two large carrots a day.
Binging carrots often will not give your eyes superhero strength. Once your body has enough beta-carotene your body will stop converting it to vitamin A. So while it’s not dangerous to munch on carrots all day (besides the risk of carotenemia), there are no extra benefits.
So there you have it: the truth about carrots and your eyesight. While they won’t help you see in the dark, they are packed with vitamins and nutrients that are essential for maintaining healthy eyes. The additional beta-carotene can help improve your sight in low light vision but may also turn you orange if you eat too much. Carrots are also packed with vitamins and minerals and contain no fat. They’re a great healthy, low calorie snack and have high versatility when cooking.