Do you remember when your parents, or maybe grandparents used to say: “eat your carrots; they’ll help you see in the dark”? It was just an infamous tale heard by children all over the country; a ploy to make us eat more greens…wasn’t it?
The saying began in World War II when rations were in place, with food in short supply. Carrots, on the other hand, were available in abundance. The UK government needed to boost enthusiasm for the endless carrot supply. The British Royal Air Force claimed that eating carrots would help pilots see enemies in the dark and the Food Ministry marketed carrots as helping the public see in the blackout. From this point, carrots kept their status as the ‘eye vegetable’. But how true is it?
Can carrots really help you to see in the dark? Or is this a fabrication designed to make us eat more carrots?
Carrots and Vitamin A for Eye Health
Actually, there is some truth in this old wives tale. Carrots are high in Vitamin A.
Professionals and doctors do recommend Vitamin A for eye health. That is because it is renowned for its benefit to our eyesight. A deficiency in this vitamin can cause damage to the retina, loss of vision and corneal ulcers. Enough vitamin A can help us to see, ward off infections, and produce the pigment in our eyes. It can benefit our:
- General eye-health
Vitamin A helps to distinguish colours by enhancing our sensitivity to light and darkness.
- Prevent eye infections
As an antioxidant, Vitamin A helps to prevent infections by fighting free radicals and protects the eyes’ membranes.
- Dry eyes
Often used as drops, Vitamin A can be used to lubricate and protect the eyes.
So if carrots contain Vitamin A, is the old wives tale true? Can carrots really help us to see better? Well, yes. The vitamin content in carrots can improve our eye health. But carrots won’t give you X-Ray vision.
Carrots and Eye Health
It’s important to remember that eating carrots won’t correct existing eye problems, but may help to support eye health and vision. As we age, our eyesight inevitably diminishes. The problems we encounter later in life are exacerbated by the lifestyle choices that we make today: what we eat; what we drink; and what we do. So it’s important that we eat our carrots, just like we were told as children.