Vitamin A is responsible for converting light in the eyes into a signal to the brain. It so happens that carrots are rich in Vitamin A. So, do carrots improve eyesight?
Brief History of Carrots
Asians are the first carrot growers, and (don’t be surprised) it is not with the famous orange color that we see nowadays. It has been in a variety of color yellow, red, purple, and white carrots. The orange color was first established and stabilized in the 16th and 17th century by Dutch growers.
Carrots Improve Vision: Fact or Fiction
In World War II history, the German aircraft was successfully shot down by the British Air Force during the dead of the night. Behind this accomplishment, the UK Ministry of Food reported that carrots are the sole reason for pilots’ clear vision. However, truth told after a decade. It was not carrots, but the British Royal Air Force has a secret radar technology to detect enemies during the night.
But setting aside the story from the past, does having an enhance eyesight is not connected with eating carrots?
Certainly, it is. Eating carrots are connected to having an improved vision under certain conditions.
With many vitamins, vitamin A is responsible for converting light in the eyes into a signal to the brain. The human body uses beta-carotene to make vitamin A. Once the signal is transmitted into the brain, people can make a vivid image (not so vivid) under low-light conditions.
Vitamin A is also vital in other eyesight means. The clear front of the eye called cornea is in danger of losing once the body did not receive enough vitamin A.
Vitamin A deficiency can result in blindness. Cases in India and Nepal where people are suffering from undernourishment of vitamin A have been shown to enhance night vision after being supplemented of beta-carotene or vitamin A.
How Many Carrots Are Required for Eyes Improvement?
The exact number of carrot consumption in relation to night vision is still not clear. So far, many researchers have been focused on the health benefits of vitamin A or beta-carotene supplements and not carrots specifically. But carrots are rich in vitamin A. So eating up carrots is like fuelling up vitamin A in the body.
A 2005 controlled study focus on night blindness among pregnant women. The study examined 4.5 ounces of cooked carrots against other vitamins A-rich food such as goat liver, amaranth leaf, and fortified rice. What they did is stacked up cooked carrots six days a week. Findings show that all the options roughly have similar performance, however, vitamin A supplement has the best result of them all. The pregnant women’s eyesight has a normal level of response against darkness after given a regular diet of cooked carrots for six weeks.
How Do Carrots Improve Eyesight?
In other research, beta carotene has been shown to fail in converting vitamin A. It was suggested that 12 to 21 molecules of beta-carotene are required to convert just one vitamin A molecule. An article points out that taking vitamin A supplements are more convenient than consuming carrots itself. It is because, unlike straight vitamin A, beta carotene need to be processed under the intestinal wall to be converted into vitamin A.
Bringing too many carrots down in your stomach might not also improve your eyesight. Why? The body stops converting beta-carotene into vitamin A once it is supplied with enough beta-carotene. It is the body’s response to regulate the nutrients in the body, accumulating the toxicity level of the substance in the same manner. So the same question remains on what the ideal number of carrots should be consumed.
The deputy clinical director at the National Eye Institute, Emily Chew, said that there is no specific number of carrot consumption to achieve eye benefits. But she said that everything should be put into balance. Eating too many carrots may turn your skin a bit of orange color. It is not a major health concern, but it is a slight side effect.
How to Solve a Night Blindness Issue
With regards to night blindness, even ancient Egypt have solutions to treat it. The ancient Egyptians simply squeezed grilled lamb’s liver into the patient’s sick eye/s and this serves as a topical treatment. However, Alfred Sommer (an ophthalmologist and vitamin A expert) somehow questions if the sight restoration is purely the product of the topical treatment or it is the result of feeding the patient up with the remaining liver. Take note that the liver is rich in vitamin A.
Director Chew preferred green, leafy vegetables, with it comes to eating up nutrients-filled food to enhance eyesight. Some example she gave are collard greens, kale, and spinach. These greens are full of zeaxanthin and lutein. The said two nutrients can protect your eyes, specifically the retina, from harmful high-energy wavelengths. Even age-related macular degeneration (elderly’s common eyesight loss) cannot work against these foods.
Other Health Benefits of Carrots
With all the information of carrots being associated with good eyesight, carrots are also related to another bunch of extra benefits. The risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer can be subsided through the help of the antioxidant properties of carrots. Additionally, vitamin C within carrots, enhance the immune function, making a person prevent catching a simple cold and other diseases.
- Cancer – Due to the antioxidant power of carrots, the free radicals in the body decrease, resulting in a lower chance of developing cancer in the body. Dietary carotenoids have anti-cancer effects. It was backed up by some studies which show that it is linked with the lower risk of prostate cancer.
- Blood Pressure – Carrots also contain potassium and fiber. A half-cup serving is, in fact, contain 1.8 g of fiber and 205 mg of potassium. AHA (American Heart Association) suggests that consuming potassium and fiber-rich diet can protect you from spiking up blood pressure. Thus, protect you against heart diseases as well.