We’ve all heard the old wives tale that carrots can help us see in the dark, and while we know that this is just fiction – something to tell the kids so that they’ll eat their vegetables – there is actually a little bit of truth to the saying. Carrots may not give us night vision, but they could help to protect our eyes.
Eye problems can sometimes be a natural part of ageing, but there have been more and more vision concerns amongst younger people, and it’s believed that this all comes down to modern living. Laptops, smartphones, and tablet PCs emit ‘blue light’, which can cause damage to the eyes. Research shows that blue light can contribute towards damage to the photoreceptor cells in the retina, affecting vision.
Apple famously added an orange filter to their devices to counteract the harmful blue light, but there’s actually a way to do this naturally through the diet. Carotenoids are deep yellow, orange, and red pigments found in many types of food, including carrots and pumpkins, which help to absorb blue light and ultimately minimise damage to the eye. Lutein and zeaxanthin are perhaps the best at doing this.
Vitamins and Minerals
Along with carotenoids, which can be found in many vision supplements, there are also a few vitamins and minerals which are believed to benefit eye health. Vitamins A, C, and E, which have strong antioxidant properties, can help to reverse oxidative stress to the lens and retina, while zinc can reduce the risk of macular degeneration, which affects about 1 in 10 people over the age of 65 and can lead to loss of vision. Increasing vitamin and mineral intake – either through a change in eating habits or through the inclusion of food supplements – really is one of the best ways to protect the eyes.