Carrots are known for giving rabbits powerful night vision. Just joking. This is a myth. Carrots are actually bad for rabbits.
According to Emily Chew, deputy clinical director at the National Eye Institut, carrots will help improve eyesight because they contain beta-carotene. The body uses beta-carotene to make Vitamin A. As we know, Vitamin A is needed for good eyesight and improves dry eyes. Vitamin A is also important for skin health and plays a role in seborrheic dermatitis.
But how many carrots should we eat? How many can we actually stomach?
One randomized control study examined how consumption of roughly 4.5 ounces of cooked carrots 6 days a week stacked up with other vitamin A-rich food sources and supplementation. That’s a lot of carrots. All the foods performed roughly the same and Vitamin A supplementation did best of all.
Unlike this lady with a carrot addiction, I can only eat up to 1 small carrot a day. Dipped in peanut butter – the yummy kind, not the healthy kind.
How much beta-carotene is in a carrot?
One medium orange carrot has about 4 mg of beta-carotene in it.
Purple carrots have more beta-carotene while the lighter colors, white and yellow, have less beta-carotene.
How much beta-carotene does the body need in a day?
If you’re supplementing, it’s recommended that you have 6 to 15 mg of beta-carotene (which is the equivalent of 10,000 to 25,000 iu of vitamin A) a day.
What nutrients do carrots have?
- Beta carotene
- Alpha carotene
- Lycopene (in red and purple carrots)
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin K1
- Vitamin C
- soluble fiber to slow down digestion of sugar and starch, as well as feed the friendly bacteria in your gut
- insoluble fiber to help you poop
How many carrots do you need to eat in a day?
Assuming you eat nothing else that will give you beta-carotene, you’ll need to eat about 2 medium carrots a day for your daily Vitamin A requirement.
Should you eat carrots raw or cooked?
Raw carrots have more beta-carotene but a short cooking time will not destroy much of it. Cooking will also soften the cells walls of the carrot, allowing more beta-carotene to be absorbed by the body. Up to 6.5 fold in fact.
My Carrot Experiment
Carrots improve dry eyes
The aim was to eat one small carrot a day, either raw or cooked.
Common symptoms of dry eyes, many of which plaque me, were measured at baseline and daily. Scoring was between 0-10 being totally asymptomatic and 10 being the worse its ever been.
|Lack of tears when blinking||10||10||8||8||8||8||8||8|
|Poor night vision||10||10||10||6||6||8||7||7|
|Sensitivity to light||5||5||5||3||3||3||4||4|
As you can see, eating carrots every day improved my eye symptoms. I found that it improved eye dryness the most and helped somewhat with my vision. However, it didn’t really help with my eyes’ response time to light changes.
To wrap up
This is only a 7-day experiment. To really gain the benefits from dietary vitamin A, it needs to be a sustainable lifestyle change.
The biggest issue I found was the utmost difficulty in actually eating carrots every day. By Day 7, I was pretty sick of it. Thankfully, there are plenty of other food I can get beta-carotene and retinols from.
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