Does Eating Carrots Actually Increase Your Vision :
“Finish your vegetables! Especially the carrots, they will give you good eyesight!” these are the words that most kids grow up hearing. Not to mention watching Bugs Bunny, with his big bunny eyes, eat them was as famous an icon as Popeye eating his spinach. Unfortunately, we grew up to learn that having a can of spinach doesn’t immediately give you popeye like muscles, but it has important vitamins that help muscle and bone growth. The story related to carrots is very much similar. They are known to be healthy for eye ‘maintenance’ but is it true that the more carrots you eat the healthier your eyes will be? What about the even more insane rumors saying that they give you some special night vision or x-ray vision by over feeding on them? Let’s find out!
As for the question on whether carrots improve your eyesight, it depends on your specific eye problem. In some cases, eating carrots have been proven to improve eyesight and night vision, but next to this statement is a huge ‘conditions apply’ asterisk. The only time carrots improve eyesight if the loss of sight is due to beta-carotene or vitamin deficiency. This is because the beta-carotene content in the carrot is what makes it good for our eyes. Here is what we questioned to find? Does Eating Carrots Increase Your Vision
First, let’s talk about the truth part of this saying with scientific facts. Beta-carotene is used by our body to make Vitamin A, a vital compound for our eyes. This is because it helps our eye convert the lights rays that fall onto it into signals to the brain, and the better it works, the better it will allow vision in even low lights. There is an optimum amount of Vitamin A that is required by our eye for it to function properly. To speak in detail, our eyes see because of ‘cones’ and ‘rods’ that reside in the. The eyes’ retina uses a part call retinal, which is wrapped up at the tip of these ‘rods’ in our eyes. They stay twisted and compacted in protein, and when light falls on it, it goes from cis form to transform. This is what causes a chain reaction that sends the signal from the eyes to the brain. Also, the compound retinal combines with opsin forming rhodopsin, which helps the rods and cones in eyes to send signals allowing sight in small lights and color vision. As this whole chain reaction depends on the vitamin A to function, one can now see how it is imperative for the concept to work.
Vitamin A deficiency can lead to lots of sight issues such as;
– Disappearance of cornea (clear part in front of eye)
– Macular degeneration (degeneration of macula)
– Xerophthalmia (When your eyes don’t produce tears)
Carrots also contain Lutein, which is an anti-oxidant. This is great in preventing macular degeneration, as it is known to increase the density of pigment in the macula. Macula is the yellow oval part right in the center of the retina. So the higher the density, the higher the protection, making it harder for the macula to degenerate. As long as vitamin A is sufficient the above problems should not occur. Basically, if the reason the sight problems exist is due to Vitamin A deficiency, then yes carrots will help in vision or night vision.
Now for the myth part, and this is where it gets really interesting. So far we know that carrots are healthy and help improve the site, considering that the loss of sight is due to Vitamin A deficiency. However, some say that 20/20 sight is achievable by simply having an excess amount of carrots, and shockingly some even go to the extreme and say that they will give x-ray or special night vision. This is the part that is going to be debunked. As has been said before our body only needs a certain amount of vitamin A. Any excess amount of vitamin A will simply get stored or excreted by our body, but it will not cause any superpowers. Neither does it magically cure any and all eye problems, sorry to say to all the hopeful and optimists out there with sight problems. This, however, doesn’t mean that you should stop eating your carrots! They are very healthy part of your diet and should be taken not only for the maintenance of your eyes but even your skin. Unfortunately, if the sight and/or eye problem due to genes, birth defects, or any other reason that has nothing to do with Vitamin A deficiency, then the glasses and/or contacts are not going anywhere.
Now that the science portion is done let’s dive into history and go to the roots of this topic. Although eye problems existed from ancient times and even scripted in ancient Egyptian tabloids, pronouncing carrots as the cure came around very recently. In fact, the cure of eyesight problems in ancient Egypt were not carrots, but grilled lambs liver, which was taken and the juice was squeezed into eyes to cure night vision problems. Nowadays doctors and scientist believe that it was not only that, but it is a possibility that this liver was fed to the person after the juice ritual. As lamb liver contains vitamin A, it resulted in curing the few who had this deficiency. If this was the case then why are carrots, and not lambs, so famous? Well, this all started in the early 1940s, during World War II, when a British air force gunned down a German aircraft in the dead of the night. When questioned the UK Ministry of food said that the air force officer, John “Cat’s Eyes” Cunningham to be specific, ate a lot of carrots which improved his night vision. They not only claimed that their officers had an excess amount of carrots but spread propaganda that encouraged all citizens to do so as well (in the case of future blackouts). Now decades later two majors reasons were discovered for the spreading of this ridiculous propaganda, one of which states that it was a cover-up by the British Air Force so that the enemies did not discover their new radar technology which allowed them to track enemy air forces. Some say that this wasn’t true and that the enemy also had technology advanced enough to track the British technology. That may be true as there is another reason to why this myth came about, and that is the rationing of sugar during WWII. It was a way to encourage the public to substitute sugar with something more available, and carrots were one thing that could act as sweeteners as well be available in abundance. It was a well-known fact that during this time there was no better way to get a message across than by associating it with the military. This rumor, as we can see it, stuck way beyond WWII spiraling out of control and into our lives.
Does Eating Carrots Actually Increase Your Vision
So turns out that carrots do help our eyesight but probably not in the way that we all grew up to believe. More than the carrot, what we need is the vitamin A. Although carrots are a valid source of this vitamin, there are actually better sources of it as the pigment (beta-carotene) that helps make vitamin A in the carrot only makes 1 molecule per every 12-21 molecules of the pigment we consume. In fact, a direct consumption of a vitamin A supplement has been proven to work better than carrots. Other diets that could help are spinach, mangoes, cheese, peas, and even milk. So it turns out popeye had the right to brag about his eyesight too huh, although even all that spinach could not cure his ‘popped’ eye he was so well known for.
In conclusion, carrots do mean healthy eyes but in this case, the more does not mean the merrier. What I mean to say is do not stop eating carrots, but do know that just because they are consumed more than necessary does not mean that the eyesight will just keep improving. In fact, eye exercises and other eye strengthening methods have been proved to work better, but that talk is for another time. So go ahead and eat all the carrots a heart can desire as nothing that bad can happen due to access carrots, other than turning orange of course. . !