Have you ever been offered a carrot during a trip to your preferred optical shop? If you’ve never thought about it, then today might be a good time to investigate if these orange veggies really do something for your eyes.
In this post, we’ll take a closer look (pun unintended!) at some of the benefits that carrots can give your eyes as well as your overall health.
It’s a good source of antioxidants
Carrots contain beta-carotene which gives it its orange hue and can be found in other similarly-coloured produce. Beta-carotene can help prevent eye damage, though it works faster and more efficiently when carrots are served cooked instead of raw.
So there’s some truth that carrots can help promote eye health because of certain nutrients it has. But it doesn’t mean that you should eat a ton of carrots regularly instead of going to an eye clinic to get your eyesight checked regularly.
The great thing about carrots is they’re versatile and can be served in many delicious ways. You can put one through a spiralizer for a low-carb alternative to pasta, or put chopped pieces in a food processor to make dips, soups, smoothies, and sauces!
Any skilled ophthalmologist will tell you that lutein is an important antioxidant for eye health. Lutein is vital for preventing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) which causes blurred vision as you grow older.
And yes, carrots do contain lutein that combats free radicals. In particular, yellow carrots have the biggest amounts of this antioxidant, so you might want to consider getting those if you’re worried about the cost and other issues with LASIK surgery.
Other vegetables also contain lutein, so you can make a huge “eye health” salad with them. The next time you’re at the grocer’s, look into getting lutein-rich kale, spinach, collard greens, and broccoli to add to your yellow carrot smoothie.
It can address Vitamin A deficiency
We’ve discussed the importance of beta-carotene, but in this section, we’ll focus on how the body converts it into Vitamin A.
Vitamin A is needed for being able to see in low light and even in the dark. That’s why eating carrots became a big British Air Force propaganda during World War II.
However, some people don’t want to consume carrots due to the fear of their skin turning an orange hue. Skin specialists call this phenomenon “carotenemia,” and it’s most evident in people who overindulge in consuming carrots (we say, what’s up, Doc?!).
It’s a good source for those who are Vitamin A deficient, though there are other types of food where you can get this vitamin, like salmon and walnuts. So it’s always a good idea to ask your nutritionist about the recommended intake of Vitamin A either in vegetable or pill form so you won’t turn orange.
Aside from fighting free radicals which can cause damage to your eyes, eating carrots offers a host of other health benefits, as well. For instance, the carotenoids found in carrots act as a natural sunscreen and help prevent sun damage.
It’s also good for heart health. Bright orange and red-orange carrots in particular are rich in lycopene which is an antioxidant against heart disease.
Other benefits include healthier cholesterol and blood pressure levels as well as a more stabilised blood sugar. Carrots are also rich in fibre and have a low glycemic index, making them the perfect go-to snack.