Like many kids, I didn’t like vegetables — especially carrots and broccoli. Adults frequently told me that carrots would improve my eyesight, so that seemed like a good reason to try liking them.
There was one person who didn’t tell me this, he actually told me the opposite. My grandfather overheard somebody tell me that carrots would improve my eyesight and he let me in on a little secret — it was all a big lie. Carrots do not improve your eyesight.
Sure, carrots and many other foods do contain beta-carotene, which metabolizes into Vitamin A and everyone agrees that is essential for maintaining eye health, but it does not improve it. If you are not consuming enough vitamin A, any number of sources could help restore your vitamin A supply. Carrots themselves are not unique or magical in this way. In fact, carrots have less beta-carotene per 200 calorie serving than red peppers, kale and lettuce.
If lettuce, kale and red pepper have more beta-carotene than carrots, why do carrots get all the eyesight credit?
During World War II, the British were particularly good at shooting down Nazi bombers at night, when it’s almost impossible to see other planes. It was as if they had super-human sight, and they did. They had radar.
Once news stories started to circulate about these pilots with seemingly super-human eyes, the government needed a good explanation to prevent the Germans from learning about this technology. Carrots.
Flight Lieutenant John Cunningham, nicknamed ”Cats Eyes” for his incredible ability to shoot down enemy planes, had a natural love for carrots. The story wrote itself and they explained that they were feeding other pilots a lot of carrots to improve their eyesight too.
Chad Upton is the editor-in-chief of Broken Secrets and an official Yahoo Answers contributor.
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