“What's up, Doc?” are the famous — or infamous — words of America’s favorite bunny, Bugs, who was frequently seen munching on a carrot. Unless it was part of one of his notorious disguises, Bugs rarely ever wore glasses.
Could this lack of spectacles be due to the abundance of carrots in his diet? Not so fast, Bugs, say many eye health experts.
Carrots may not necessarily make your eyesight better. But they may help with certain nutritional deficiencies which can be attributed to weakening eyesight, because carrots contain the carotenoid beta-carotene, according to LiveStrong.com.
“Carotenoids turn into a usable form of vitamin A called retinol in the body after ingestion. Retinol is one type of vitamin A, a group of compounds that act as antioxidants, that removes damaging free radicals from the cells of the eyes and other parts of the body,” LiveStrong.com said.
And beta-carotene may have other health benefits, according to GoodHousekeeping.com. “Beta carotene is a provitamin the body converts into vitamin A, is a powerful antioxidant that has been celebrated for its possible ability to fight cancer. It's thought to play a role protecting cells, boosting the immune system, and helping to keep the reproductive system healthy.”
In fact, during World War II lots of carrot eyesight propaganda was circulating amongst the British. Many believed that carrots could be a hidden weapon in night vision warfare, according to HowStuffWorks.com.
“The British Royal Air Force published a story that said skilled fighter pilot John 'Cats' Eyes' Cunningham could thank a steady diet of carrots for his night vision flying prowess. In response to the story, many British people began to grow and eat more carrots. They wanted to improve their vision so that they could see better during the compulsory blackouts that were common during World War II,” HowStuffWorks.com said.
Maintenance may be the key idea in protecting vision health with a healthy diet inclusive of foods such as carrots rich in beta-carotene. According to HealthEating.sfgate.com, “There is no magic food or supplement that can improve your eyesight. However, you can take steps to help maintain healthy vision, including eating a healthy diet.”
In the meantime, besides crunching, steaming and juicing here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy this bunny favorite:
Carrot Apple Salad
• 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
• medium apple, cored and sliced
• 1 tbsp. raisins
• 1 tsp. sesame seeds
• 1 cup of spring mix
• 1 tbsp. organic coconut oil
Combine all ingredients in large bowl.
Toss until coated with oil.
Carrot Walnut Soufflé
• 2 cups of cooked mashed carrots
• ½ cup of Stevia powder
• ½ cup of raw brown sugar
• ½ tsp of vanilla
• ½ tsp of cinnamon
• ½ tsp of nutmeg
• 4 large eggs
• ½ cup of almond milk
* 1 cup of ground walnuts, mixed with 2 tbsp. butter and raw brown sugar
* Press firmly into pie plate
Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl and fill pie crust.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes.
“Does Eating Carrots Keep Your Eyes Healthy? – LiveStrong.com.” Live Strong. Web 28 April 2015.
“10 of the Most Beta Carotene-Rich Foods – GoodHousekeeping.com. Good Housekeeping. Web 28 April 2015.
“Carrots and Eyesight – HowStuffWorks.com.” How Stuff Works. Web 28 April 2015.
“Does Eating Carrots Actually Increase Your Vision? – Healthy Eating.com. Healthy Eating. Web 28 April 2015.
Joanne Sgro-Killworth is a Television Fitness Expert, Certified Personal Trainer and Sport Nutritionist and Publicist. She is Certified in Pilates, Pre-natal/Post-Partum, Yoga and Senior Fitness. She specializes in Weight Loss, Post-Rehab and Post Cancer Training.
Joanne's fitness plans, recipes and lifestyle advice are available globally on her website http://www.happiwoman.com/ She resides in the Phoenix, AZ area with her husband and children, where she runs her fitness and publicity business, JSK PR, http://www.jskpr.com/
Reviewed April 29, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith