Global Food Myths #19: Do carrots improve your eyesight?

LSG Group experts clarify food myths from around the world – Episode 19 is about carrots and vision.

The belief that carrots improve vision – especially in the dark – probably originated during the Second World War. The British Royal Air Force, it is said, served up vast quantities of the root vegetable to fighter pilots to increase their accuracy at night. The anecdote might have served only to divert attention away from the new radar technology the British were using that granted them better accuracy – but there could be some truth to the story, right, Anthony Wright?

The Lead Executive Chef of LSG Group says: “That carrots are good for the health of the eyes is absolutely right, but that they would make an otherwise healthy person see significantly better is a myth.”

Why? Carrots contain a lot of beta-carotene, which is then converted to vitamin A in the body. This in turn can help with age-related eye diseases. If a vitamin A deficiency persists for a long time, color vision and night vision may be impaired. In that case, carrots might help.

Today, however, a vitamin A deficiency is rare. It is also found in many other foods, such as calf’s liver, parsley, kale, spinach and palm oil, sometimes in even greater quantities than in carrots.

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