British Propaganda: Why Did We Think Carrots Improved Eyesight?

Your mother probably always told you to eat your carrots. She also probably told you that it improves your eyesight. Therefore, throughout your childhood, you kept on chewing your carrots, thinking that it was the secret behind being able to see!

However, does eating carrots really improve your eyesight? Is it a myth or a fact?

Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which the body converts into Vitamin A. So, in some ways, what your mother told you was true. A deficiency in Vitamin A can lead to vision problems and eventually may cause blindness, so it’s important to eat food that is rich in Vitamin A, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, green leaves etc.

Kid Eating Carrot

Credits:Nina Buday/Shutterstock

Therefore, eating carrots, which are rich in Vitamin A, is good for your overall eye health. However, it is a myth that eating carrots will improve your eyesight.

If you increase your consumption of carrots, you won’t suddenly develop super vision or be able to see in the dark.

How did this myth come about?

Surprisingly enough, the myth about carrots started during World War II, when the British Royal Air force developed a radar system that helped them locate German bombers at night or when there was limited visibility.

To keep this technology under wraps, the British spread the rumor that their pilots ate a high concentration of carrots, which improved their vision at night. This propaganda spread like wildfire and in no time at all, everyone in Britain was eating carrots so that they could see during blackouts. Pretty cool, right? Your mother may not have known the whole truth, but that doesn’t means she still wasn’t “looking” out for you.

To learn more about carrots and all the other things they can do for your overall health, check out the video below:

References:

  1. Myth That Carrots Help You See in the Dark – Smithsonian
  2. Scientific American
  3. Carrots & Eye Health: How the Myth Began – Live Science
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Ashwin Vinod has a B.Tech in Electronics and Communications from APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University, Trivandrum (India). He likes to watch movies, reading fiction novels and surf the internet.

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