Carrots and Exercise Equal Better Vision

Carrots + Exercise = Better Vision

I’m sure I’m not alone on this eating strategy provided to us by our parents. Growing up, I was not much of do you eat your carrots today? A fan for this bland orange vegetable but the words of my parents, “eat your carrots, they are good for your eyes” still resonates with me today.

Taking a closer look we know that carrots contain beta-carotene, a carotenoid pigment found in bright orange fruits and vegetables that is also a precursor for vitamin A.

Vitamin A plays a major role in eyesight by preventing night blindness and helping with the maintenance of a healthy, clear cornea (outer membrane of the eye).

Carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, mango, cantaloupe, and apricots are all rich sources of beta-carotene.

But recent research from Dr. Paul T. Williams suggests another important component to better eye-sight: Exercise. Vigorous exercise may help prevent age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, both of which can affect vision. Two new studies looked at data from almost eight years of followup from the National Runners’ Health Study. In one, running an average of two to four miles a day reduced the risk for developing age-related macular degeneration by 19 per cent.

And running more than four miles per day reduced the risk by 42 per cent to 54 per cent, compared with those who ran less than two miles a day. Running an extra mile per day was associated with a 10 per cent decrease in relative risk. Another study found that men who ran 64 or more miles a week had a 35 per cent lower cataract risk than those who ran less than 16 miles per week. And those with better cardiovascular fitness were also at less risk than men who were less fit.

Although the link between fitness and preventing these conditions is not fully known by Dr. Williams and others, there is a strong belief in the health community that exercise could provide similar protective benefits for the heart and other systems.

Long story short: Eat your vegetables and exercise regularly!