If there’s one vegetable that comes to mind when we talk about improving eyesight it is carrots, isn’t it? “Eat your carrots, they’re good for your eyes”, is what you got to hear as a kid from your parents at every meal. But was it true or just a trick to get you to eat at least one veggie out of the rest you probably disliked. The question remains: Why do people or parents say carrots are good for your eyes? It’s time we dig deeper folks!
Carrots are crunchy and highly nutritious root vegetables. Packed with Vitamin A, they are important for good eyesight. According to research, Vitamin A deficiency can cause dry eyes, vision loss and blindness in children. But not just carrots, a good balanced diet is also crucial for a child’s overall health and well-being.
Let’s understand everything about the connection between carrots and eyes.
All About Carrots!
Carrots are rich in beta-carotene. It is a naturally occurring pigment that gives carrots their vibrant orange color. Additionally, it has powerful antioxidant properties. So, how does beta-carotene function in our body? It produces Vitamin A which is good for lowering cholesterol levels and also improving vision. Vitamin A helps the eye convert light into a signal which is transmitted to the brain, allowing people to see in dim light.
The root vegetable is also rich in Vitamin C, K and B8 as well as pantothenic acid, folate, potassium, iron, copper and manganese. Compared to the red ones, yellow carrots contain the most lutein, which helps in age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition in which your vision blurs gradually or in some cases lost.
Vision or any eye issues was earlier seen only in older people, but today kids are facing the same problems as well. The rise in air pollution and bad lifestyle are to be blamed. Hence, adding carrots to a child’s daily diet is a great way to keep such diseases at bay.
Eye Health Benefits Of Carrots
Worried about your child’s poor eyesight? Carrots are your full-proof traditional remedy to nourish the eyes. It is rich in lutein and lycopene which help maintain good eyesight (hyperlink Elvina’s article “Four Tips To Keep Your Eyes Healthy And Beautiful”) and night vision. The high amount of Vitamin A present in carrots is known to play a crucial role in vision too. Here are the different eye health benefits.
- Maintains and protects the corneas
- Reduces the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration
- Delays peripheral vision loss
- Creates a protective layer against infections
- Alleviates symptoms of dry eye syndrome
- Slows the process of vision loss in people with Retinitis Pigmentosa
- Impedes the progression of Stargardt’s disease
- Improves your ability to see in the dark
NOTE: Too much Vitamin A can cause headaches, joint pain and dizziness. Make sure to have the right balance.
Is Eating Carrots The Only Way To Get Vitamin A?
“When we hear statements like ‘Eating carrots will improve your child’s eyesight’, it is especially pertinent for children who are not well-nourished. Although it’s true that carrots are rich in Vitamin A and vital for good vision, so are many other fruits and vegetables. It is important to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet rather than focus only on certain specific foods. A wholesome, home-cooked meal (veg/non-veg) will ensure your child gets the required Vitamin A and other nutrients for good eyesight and overall growth and development,”says Dr. Deepak Garg, a Mumbai based pediatric ophthalmologist.
So, what are the otherfoods rich in Vitamin A?
- Sweet potatoes
Let your kids eat carrots as much they like. If they are not a fan of the vegetable, make sure they eat more of the other foods listed above. Consuming green, leafy vegetables high in lutein and Zeaxanthin like spinach and kale can also help improve and protect vision.
Carrots For Kids
If “Eat your vegetables!”, is not taken seriously by your kids at home, then it’s time to make a change in your food preparation. Cook carrots in ways that will get your kids interested to gorge on the vegetable. Before you do that, make sure to wash them properly. You can juice them, boil them or add them to your meals, but don’t let your kid’s miss out on this powerhouse of nutrients.
Few fun and exciting ways to get your kids to eat carrots:
1. Carrot Fries: A healthy, yet yummy version of fries. Bake it and have with hummus for a delicious twist.
2. Carrot Pizza: All kids will love this one, because it’s pizza! Make it special by mixing shredded carrot and cheese as the topping.
3. Mini Carrot Cheesecakes: Dessert can be nutritious and tasty too! Add carrots to mini cheesecake bites for a healthy spin.
4. Carrot Salad: Your kids will voluntarily ask for this! Sweeten the salad with apples and raisins.
5. Carrot juice: Fresh carrot juice is healthy, delicious and great to have for breakfast. Add other citrus fruits to boost the nutrition levels.
Among all of these, raw or steamed carrots contain the highest nutritive value. Apart from eating carrots, you can maintain your child’s eye health through routine eye exams.