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Are Carrots Really That Good for Your Eyes?

Carrot sticks, chopped carrots, and diced carrots sit in bowls next to large, uncut carrots.
Africa Studio/Shutterstock.com

From carrot sticks and ranch to drinking a bit of carrot juice, your parents might have been sure that the veggie was on the menu. But are carrots good for your eyes?

This common recommendation actually does have some truth to it, and carrots can promote healthy eyesight.

While you might think this dietary recommendation came from physicians, it originated back in WWII when British Royal Air Force pilots attributed their great accuracy to a diet filled with carrots. A propaganda campaign began promoting the vegetable for better night vision, and it persisted.

As you’ve probably heard, carrots are filled with beta carotene which helps fight against free radical damage that can lead to cell damage, aging, and eye disease. It does more than that, though. Once in your body, carrots’ beta carotene converts into vitamin A which helps to improve night vision as it is used to bolster the light-sensitive pigment in your eyes.

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Vitamin A supplements could be a more effective way to cure a deficiency.

Here’s the catch, though, when it comes to carrots helping eyesight. Once your body has sufficient levels of beta carotene, it stops converting it into vitamin A in order to prevent a toxic build-up of the vitamin. There are only so many benefits you can see (no pun intended) from eating carrots. Plus, some research has shown that the body isn’t great at the conversion anyway, and you have to consume a substantial amount of carrots to create vitamin A. Instead, a supplement is more effective.

Ultimately, carrots should be part of a balanced diet, and they are good for eyesight. But they should be paired with leafy greens, fish with high levels of Omega-3s, and foods rich in vitamin C like citrus for a balanced approach to nourishing your eyes.

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is the Assignments Editor at LifeSavvy. Previously, she worked as a freelance writer with a focus on beauty and lifestyle content. Her work has appeared in Bustle, Allure, and Hello Giggles. Read Full Bio »
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