Thursday, February 22, 2007

Can Carrots Really Improve Your Eyesight?

In World War II, when British RAF fighters were scoring spectacular night victories against German bombers, their success was attributed to improved eyesight from eating carrots. The carrot story was actually a ruse to keep the Germans from guessing the real secret of their success; radar. But research has shown that a diet rich in vitamin A foods, such as leafy green vegetables and, of course, carrots, can indeed help some people who suffer from night blindness.
People who are night-blind have trouble adapting to diminished light. For them,l the normal chemical reaction that allows the rods and cones to adjust to the amount of light is either absent or inhibited. In some cases the cause is a vitamin A deficiency. But, alas, eating carrots won't help everyone. Other causes include disease, heredity, and prolonged exposure to bright light.

And even when vitamin A might be the answer, it's possible to have too much of a good thing. Taken in great quantities (such as high-strength vitamin A pills), it can cause blurred vision, stomach and skin problems, headaches, and even brain damage. One sign that you're getting too much vitamin A is a yellowish tinge to your skin, due to the pigments found in vitamin A. As a rule of thumb, one large carrot every two days ought to be enough to counter any deficiency.

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