"Eat your carrots. They're good for your eyes!" How many times did you hear that advice as a kid? While you may be tired of hearing about how carrots are good for your eyes, it really is important to understand how vitamin A, the nutrient which carrots are known for, benefits your eye health. Here's a closer look to how and why your eyes utilize vitamin A, along with some ways (other than eating carrots) to get more of this nutrient into your diet.
Benefits of Vitamin A
Preserving night vision.
In order for you to see in night, certain cells in your eyes need to produce special pigments. Without vitamin A, your eyes can't make this pigment, so your vision at night tends to get blurry. This condition is known as night blindness, and it can be pretty limiting, making it impossible for you to drive at night or even be functional in the evening without a lot of bright lights in your space. Getting enough vitamin A in your diet will help keep your night vision sharp.
Preventing and slowing down the progression of major eye diseases.
As you age, macular degeneration and cataracts both become more common. Macular degeneration can eventually lead to near-total blindness, and cataracts can impair your vision substantially, often requiring surgical removal. Studies have shown that getting enough betacarotene, a form of vitamin A, can help slow the progression of macular degeneration. Vitamin A can also help prevent cataracts.
Staving off infections.
Eye infections can cause redness, itchiness, and oozing. Vitamin A helps boost the immune system so it can more effectively fight off the bacteria and viruses that cause these eye infections.
Other Great Sources of Vitamin A
Carrots are high in vitamin A, but they are far from the only source of this nutrient. Experts recommend that adult women get at least 700 mcg of vitamin A per day. Men should aim for an intake of 900 mcg per day. Some great sources include:
- Sweet potatoes (1,403 mcg per potato)
- Beef liver (6,582 mcg per 3 ounces)
- Spinach (573 mcg per ½ cup, boiled)
- Cantaloupe (135 mcg per ½ cup)
- Ricotta cheese (263 mcg per cup)
Just a sweet potato or serving of beef liver per day, and you'll exceed your needs for vitamin A! If you're still having trouble meeting your needs, consider purchasing a supplement and taking it according to package instructions. Contact a shop like Corner Drugs for more info.