Carrots belong to Umbelliferae family, the family of
plants which produce umbrella-like flower clusters. There is an interesting
fact about carrots that they weren’t orange at the early period of their
cultivation. First carrots cultivated were found to be in yellow, purple or
white colors. There are still carrots of varying color shades.
However; most of us are more familiar with the bright orange crunchy carrots! Carrots are one among the all-time favorite vegetables which can be munched raw, imparting refreshment and coolness.
You might be familiar with the childhood chorus from our parents to eat carrots in a plate they keep on insisting until the whole plate is cleaned. Is this just a bunch of baloney or does it really have any truth?’
Carrots were heralded as miracle vegetables as they
were used to cure a number of diseases from snake bites to sexually transmitted
diseases since the early times. The benefits of carrots on eyesight were known
They pack in awesome quality and quantity of vitamins and necessary minerals to feed our eyes.
Vitamin A and Beta carotenoids
Carrots are a rich source of Vitamin A which is in
the form of carotenoids. The beta-carotene is one among the carotenoids which
impart fruits and vegetables rich color pigments. Beta Carotene helps the conversion
of pro vitamins A to active vitamin A, which happens in your liver.
This vitamin actually is a group of antioxidant compounds that plays a vital role in bone growth, vision and the immune health. The liver then packages these vitamins to for combine called ‘opsin’ to form the compound rhodopsin, which is the substance that actually helps in color and night vision. Vitamin A lessens the risk of eye infections as they help the eye surfaces to be effective barriers to bacteria and viruses.
Deficiency of Vitamin A leads to night blindness, cataracts, macular degeneration or even xerophthalmia (a disease characterized by dry eyes, swollen eyelids, and corneal ulcers).As a matter of fact, just one cup of sliced, raw carrots can give more than 110% of daily value of Vitamin A.
Lutein is also a type of carotenoid which contributes
to the yellow- red pigmented found in veggies and some fruits. Carrots also
contain Lutein, which is also an important antioxidant.
Lutein in high concentrations may appear red-orange and in lower concentration, it is considered to be a yellow pigment. It is believed that Lutein in the macula acts as a barrier from blocking the blue spectrum of light from reaching the retina of our eyes, such that it deteriorates the chances of blue light induced oxidative degeneration which might cause the macular defect on our retina.
Scientific studies revealed that people who included high amounts of lutein and other important carotenoids in their diet have a lesser risk of cataracts than people whose diets contain feeble amount of these nutrients. However, supplemental lutein had no effect on cataract risk.
In short, the
old carrot myth about carrot improving eyesight is actually true. Carrots do
provide bounteous benefits for healthy vision, but eating carrots every day will not restore the vision to 20/20.
On the other hand, they could lessen the possible risks that could occur. And yes, the Bugs Bunny’s food of choice is undoubtedly a healthier option of snack!