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Everyone has heard, “Eat your carrots to have good eyesight!” Is there any truth to this statement or is it a bunch of baloney? Well, yes and no. Carrots won’t improve your visual acuity if you have less than perfect vision. A diet of carrots won’t give a blind person 20/20 vision. But, the vitamins found in the vegetable can help promote overall eye health. Carrots contain beta-carotene, a substance that the body converts to vitamin A, an important nutrient for eye health. An extreme lack of vitamin A can cause blindness. Vitamin A can prevent the formation of cataracts and macular degeneration, the world’s leading cause of blindness. However, if your vision problems aren’t related to vitamin A, your vision won’t change no matter how many carrots you eat.
In addition to beta-carotene, carrots also contain lutein, an antioxidant. Foods rich in lutein have been found to increase pigment density in the macula. The greater pigment density in the macula, the better protected your retina is and the lower your risk for macular degeneration.
Because carrots are rich in vitamin A and lutein, they are always a good choice for a nutrient-packed snack. Keep packing those carrot sticks in the school lunches, mom, but don’t expect X-ray vision!