Carrots won’t improve vision, but are good for eye health

Although they contain nutrients that promote eye health, the claim that carrots can actually improve your eyesight stems from British WWII propaganda.

Parents often tell their children from an early age to eat all their vegetables if they want to be strong and healthy. Sometimes, adults urge children to eat specific vegetables for specific benefits.

One such connection that is commonly made is eating carrots to improve eyesight.

We asked our readers about the food-related legends they’ve heard over the years, and many responded The Classic Claim About Carrots Improving Vision, Nutrient-packed vegetables have all kinds of health benefits, so could it really be true?

Question

Will Eating Carrots Improve Your Vision?

Source

Answer

No, eating carrots will not improve your vision, unless you are deficient in Vitamin A. Although they contain nutrients that promote eye health, the belief that carrots can actually improve your vision stems from British World War II propaganda.

what we found

Carrots contain vitamins that may help maintain good eye health, but you already include plenty of vitamins with or without carrots in your diet. Adding more vitamins from carrots won’t help you see better.

British World War II propaganda led people to believe that carrots would improve your eyesight.

The US Department of Defense states that during WWII, the United Kingdom was successfully using radar to track and shoot down German bomber aircraft. To prevent the Germans from finding out about the radar system, Britain tried to use some misdirection. Their citizens, the British government claimed, were really good at seeing aeroplanes.

“So to disguise it, they claimed that basically what’s happening here is that carrots are improving their pilots’ vision,” said Bwalia Lungu, professor of food science and food folklore at the University of California Davis. ‚ÄúThat’s improving their vision; It’s because they’re eating too many carrots.”

Examples of this can be seen in a British War recipe leaflet from 1943, which stated that carrots helped people “see better in blackouts” and a propaganda poster that read, “Eat carrots and leafy green or yellow vegetables … Rich in Vitamin ‘A’, essential for night vision.

But in reality, carrots aren’t enough for your eyes to actually improve your vision as the propaganda has suggested.

“Carrots will not improve your visual acuity if you have less than perfect vision,” says the Illinois-based Galley Eye Clinic. “A diet of carrots will not give a blind person 20/20 vision.”

According to Winchester Hospital in Massachusetts, carrots contain a pigment called beta-carotene, which your body turns into vitamin A — a vitamin important for healthy eyes. The Geely Eye Clinic states that vitamin A can prevent cataracts and macular degeneration and that excessive vitamin A deficiency can lead to blindness.

But you don’t need much vitamin A to maintain good eye health.

Standard, well-balanced diets in countries such as the US include plenty of vitamin A. Winchester Hospital says that eating more carrots will not make enough of a difference to affect eyesight. Your eye health and vision will only benefit from foods high in vitamin A if your body is deficient in vitamin A, which is more likely in poorer countries where people sometimes eat less varied diets.

Lungu said that some studies suggest that it is possible for vitamin A, and therefore carrots, to slightly improve the vision of people with extreme vitamin A deficiency so that their vision goes from “bad” to “slightly less bad.” Are.

Lungu says a study of Nepalese women with high rates of vitamin A deficiency and night blindness found that participants who were given extra vitamin A had lower rates of night blindness than those who had vitamin A supplements. was not consumed.

But such an improvement was possible only because the night blindness of Nepalese women was directly related to their vitamin A deficiency. Increasing your vitamin A intake isn’t going to do much for any vision problems caused by factors outside of your vitamin A intake, such as astigmatism.

“If your vision problems are not related to vitamin A, no matter how many carrots you eat, your vision will not change,” summarizes the Gelli Eye Clinic.

The VERIFY team works to separate fact from fiction so you can understand what’s true and what’s false. Please consider subscribing to our daily newsletter, text alerts, and our YouTube channel. You can also follow us on Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Tiktok. learn more “

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