Carrots being good for the eyes is a well-known fact. It is something we have grown up learning, and there is even scientific evidence to back this claim. But, how did this association come into being?
The connection between the health of eyes and carrots originates from a supposed myth. It was believed that during World War II, British pilots were the first to target and shoot enemy planes at night. Unfortunately, this had less to do with their diet than with the RAF's supremacy in the field of radar. But, in order to keep this new technology a secret, they credited their visual accuracy to eating carrots at night. Thus began a propaganda that touted carrots as the go-to food for eye health.
Keeping the eyes healthy
However, carrots are indeed rich in antioxidants, particularly beta carotene and lutein, which are known to prevent damage to the eyes by free radicals. Free radicals are compounds that cause cell damage and weaken the eyes. It is beta carotene that gives a carrot its red/orange colour, which is converted into vitamin A by the body. And a body that has vitamin A deficiency is prone to night blindness. Experts say that vitamin A forms rhodopsin -a reddish-purple, light-sensitive pigment in the eye- that helps us see at night.
Furthermore, yellow carrots -containing lutein- are known to prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition which causes your vision to gradually get blurred and/or lost.
Besides eyes, there are many other benefits to eating carrots. Rich in fiber, carrots keep the digestive system strong and even prevent constipation. They are also known to stabilize the blood sugar level. Additionally, red and orange carrots have lycopene, which is a heart-protective antioxidant. Being high in fiber and low in calories, carrots may also promote weight loss.