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Keeping an eye on your sight

Q: Is it true that carrots are good for eye health?

A: No doubt you were told as a child that carrots can help you see in the dark? Well in theory, yes they can! This is due to their beta carotene content. Beta carotene belongs to a large group of antioxidants called caretenoids and is converted by the body into vitamin A.

Vitamin A is found within the retina and plays a crucial role in the function of rods and cones needed for healthy vision. Poor vision at night and difficulty adapting to different lights have been linked to low levels of vitamin A, and food sources include – yes you’ve guessed it – carrots, as well as apricots, asparagus and broccoli

In addition to beta carotene, other important nutrients for eye health include lutein, zeaxanthin and astaxanthin

Lutein and zeaxanthin are found naturally in the macula and the retina of the eye, and can be sourced from dark green, leafy vegetables; they have antioxidant and other health promoting properties, especially for eyes.

And astaxanthin, found in shrimps, salmon and red peppers, is one of nature’s most powerful antioxidants. It is believed to help counter the free radical damage (oxidation) caused by light, smoke, pollution and even a bad diet (hydrogenated fats and alcohol) that can lead to impaired eyesight.

If supplementing, research suggests no more than 4mg on a daily basis is needed.