Monday, March 30, 2009

Ah, now I see!


A Sydney doctor has been studying human retinas since 1976 and says the carrot myth, that eating carrots is good for your eyes, started in World War II, is a "complete fabrication". Dr Beaumont is the director of the Macular Degeneration (MD) Foundation.

"When the English ... were flying at night they used radar but the Germans didn't know that radar existed," Dr Beaumont said from his Sydney clinic. "The English certainly didn't want them to know so they put out a myth saying they were feeding their pilots carrots to improve their night vision and that's why they could fly and see things at night.

Dr Beaumont recommends eating lutein rich foods for eye health. The lutein (found in spinach, corn and egg yolks) helps protect the eye from sight-damaging light that causes MD and blindness, Dr Beaumont explains.

On the flipside, ironically, foods rich in beta carotene - like carrots - can damage the eye's protective shield, doubling your risk of contracting the disease.

So much for old wive's tales.

Related to that, there is at least one recorded case of a person dying from drinking excessive amounts of carrot juice.

While we need Vitamin A (beta carotene is a Vitamin A precursor), it is actually quite toxic.

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