We have all been told by our Mothers and Grand Mothers over the years that eating carrots will help us see in the dark and as children we almost certainly dismissed it as a cunning ploy to get us to eat the things we didn’t like as children. I know my parents had tales to persuade me to eat many things that as a small child I protested I didn’t like and before I get myself into trouble, I should say that I am grateful now for those tales as there isn’t much I don’t eat.

There is amazingly a growing body of evidence to support, in part, the basic premise of these stories as studies in the USA have shown that vitamins of the A C and E complex along with zinc can slow down the process of age related macular degeneration. There is also some evidence that vitamins C and E may assist in slowing down the growth of cataracts, there you go Granny was on the right track after all.

Two chemicals have been identified as possibly assisting in cleansing and protecting the eyes against “free radicals”. The two chemicals in question are Lutein and zeaxanthin and there is, again a small amount of evidence to support the idea that one or both of these chemicals can help in preventing harmful UV light reaching and doing as much damage as it otherwise would. Almost as though they were naturally occurring sunglasses and one study has shown that they may indeed even help to slow down the formation of cataracts. These chemicals can be found in dark green vegetables and some fruits some of which are; spinach, squash, sweetcorn, broccoli, kale, kiwi fruit, peas, oranges, sweet potatoes and courgettes.

There is no real way at present to tell how much we need to eat to help or support our eyes but if we are being good boys and girls and eating our five a day, we should be getting enough. As long as we are not over cooking them we should be getting the maximum benefit from them. In any event if you are worried about your sight or anything to do with your diet or general health it would clearly be best to seek the advice of your GP or your optician. They will be able to provide you with the advice you need, related directly to your own personal circumstances. But it does just go to show that some of the tales and scare tactics used by our parents and grand parents were grounded in fact. It sort of makes you wonder how they knew that before science was out there proving it one way or another.

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