Skip to main content

Military Health System

It’s True – Carrots (and Other Vegetables) Can Help You See in the Dark

Image of Each color in fruits and vegetables indicates an abundance of specific nutrients. Each color in fruits and vegetables indicates an abundance of specific nutrients. (Photo: Defense Commissary Agency)

Recommended Content:

Nutritional Fitness | Centers of Excellence | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Vision Center of Excellence

Have you ever heard that carrots are good for your eyes, or that they can help you see in the dark?

It's true – carrots are rich in the compound beta carotene, which your body uses to make a form of vitamin A that helps your eyes adjust in the dark.

That's just one of the important links between Vitamin A and eye health. Vitamin A is critical for our ability to see, according to a recent report from the Defense Health Agency's Vision Center of Excellence in Falls Church, Virginia.

"There are many factors that affect your eyes and vision, including genetics and age," said Maria Viswanathan, ophthalmologist at the VCE. "Adequate amounts of Vitamin A can help prevent the development of night blindness and slow age-related decline in sight."

With low vitamin A levels, the eye is unable to send visual signals to the brain. This can result in night blindness as an initial symptom. "High doses of vitamin A supplementation can potentially prevent vision loss," according to the VCE.

Vitamin A supports more than just eye health. It is important for the function of the immune system and reproductive systems. It also contributes to healthy heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs, according to the VCE.

Vitamin A also boosts the immune system by stimulating the production and activity of white blood cells. It's an antioxidant that can prevent or slow damage to cells.

Additionally, vitamin A has a role in preventing inflammation and can help prevent inflammatory conditions like acne.

But the human body cannot make vitamin A on its own, so we rely on the food we consume to help jump start the creation of vitamin A. The pigment beta carotene is a major driver of vitamin A production.

Beta carotene is found in many vegetables. It is the nutrient that gives yellow, orange, and red fruits and vegetables their color. That includes carrots, cantaloupes, apricots, sweet potatoes, mangoes, pumpkins, and papayas. Beta carotene is also found in green, leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and collards (even though the color of those vegetables is determined by a different chemical known as chlorophyll).

Beta carotene is also necessary for proper bone growth and development.

In immune health, beta carotene plays a key role in maintaining our body's defenses. It also keeps male and female reproductive systems healthy. During pregnancy, it ensures embryos grow and develop normally.

How Much Vitamin A Do We Need?

"We should ensure that we have the right amount of vitamin A," said Viswanathan. "Too little or too much can have negative effects on your health."

However, the amount of vitamin A people need depends on their gender and age, according to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. The average daily recommended amount for every individual is measured in micrograms of retinol activity equivalents, a metric known as RAE.

The NIH recommends adult females get 700 mcg RAE, while adult males should get 900 mcg RAE daily. Pregnant and breastfeeding women need 770 mcg RAE and 1,300 mcg RAE respectively, according to the NIH.

Although vitamin A deficiency is uncommon in the developed world, it can occur in individuals who have cystic fibrosis, pancreatic insufficiency, chronic liver disease, short bowel syndrome, Crohn's or celiac disease, giardiasis, chronic diarrhea, highly selective dieting, dysphagia, mental illness, or who are bariatric surgery recipients, according to the VCE report.

Premature infants also tend to have low levels of vitamin A in their first year.

A simple blood test will let your health care provider know if you're getting enough vitamin A. But, generally, consuming a diet rich in nutritious and varied fruits, vegetables, dairy, grains, and protein should meet your body's needs for vitamins and minerals for optimal health and readiness.

"Research is ongoing to evaluate the effects of vitamin A on prevention and/or treatment of various infectious diseases," said Dr. Cecilia Mikita, a staff allergist and immunologist at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

"Vitamin A plays an important role in both innate and adaptive immune responses, specifically the integrity of the skin barrier and regulation of the differentiation, maturation, and function of numerous immune cells," she said.

For more information, or if you're concerned about your vitamin A levels, talk to your health care provider.

You also may be interested in...

Holiday Food Safety Tip: Cook Food Thoroughly

Infographic
5/25/2022
Holiday Food Safety Tip: Cook Food Thoroughly

Use a thermometer to ensure your food is cooked to the right minimum internal temperature.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Nutritional Fitness

Holiday Food Safety Tip: Keep Cold Food Cold

Infographic
5/25/2022
Holiday Food Safety Tip: Keep Cold Food Cold

Don't let your cold dishes sit out on a counter for more than 2 hours. Keep it chilled at 40 degrees or less.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Nutritional Fitness

Holiday Food Safety Tip: Wash Your Hands

Infographic
5/25/2022
Holiday Food Safety Tip: Wash Your Hands

Washing your hands often is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of bacteria.

Recommended Content:

Nutritional Fitness | Total Force Fitness

Vision Research Month

Infographic
5/19/2022
Vision Research Month

It’s #VisionResearchMonth! Thanks to talented doctors and scientists committed to researching vision, we have the tools at our disposal to keep our eyesight #MissionReady at all times. https://health.mil/VCEHome

Recommended Content:

Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | June | Vision Center of Excellence

Vision and Hearing Connect Graphic 3

Infographic
4/25/2022
Vision and Hearing Connect Graphic 3

To be #SightandSoundReady, schedule regular exams to maintain vision and hearing health. Your readiness and well-being depend on it. https://www.health.mil/Military-Health-Topics/Total-Force-Fitness/Preventive-Health/Vision-and-Hearing-Loss-Prevention

Recommended Content:

Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Hearing Center of Excellence | Vision Center of Excellence

Vision and Hearing Connect Graphic 5

Infographic
4/25/2022
Vision and Hearing Connect Graphic 5

Vision and hearing are critical components of everyday life. Guard your senses to prevent hearing and vision injuries. Learn more: https://vce.health.mil; https://hearing.health.mil, and follow HCE on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/DODHCE #SightandSoundReady

Recommended Content:

Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Hearing Center of Excellence | Vision Center of Excellence

Vision and Hearing Primary Graphic

Infographic
4/25/2022
Vision and Hearing Primary Graphic

Hearing and vision are vital components of force readiness and quality of life. Regular hearing and vision checkups can ensure you are #SightandSoundReady. https://www.dvidshub.net/video/796691/stay-sight-and-sound-ready

Recommended Content:

Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Hearing Center of Excellence | Vision Center of Excellence

Vision and Hearing Connect Graphic 2

Infographic
4/25/2022
Vision and Hearing Connect Graphic 2

Take care of your eyes and ears. Contact your military hospital or clinic to schedule preventive health exams, or visit here: https://www.tricare.mil/CoveredServices/Vision/EyeExams; https://www.tricare.mil/CoveredServices/IsItCovered/HearingExams #SightandSoundReady

Recommended Content:

Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Hearing Center of Excellence | Vision Center of Excellence

Keep Your Eyes and Ears Healthy

Infographic
4/25/2022
Keep Your Eyes and Ears Healthy

Vision and hearing health impact every aspect of our lives. Protect your senses so that you can stay ready and connected. https://www.health.mil/Military-Health-Topics/Total-Force-Fitness/Preventive-Health/Vision-and-Hearing-Loss-Prevention #SightandSoundReady

Recommended Content:

Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Hearing Center of Excellence | Vision Center of Excellence

Vision and Hearing Connect Graphic 4

Infographic
4/25/2022
Vision and Hearing Connect Graphic 4

What protective equipment is right for you? The Authorized Protective Eyewear List and Hearing Protection Device Evaluated Products List help service members select proper gear. APEL: https://www.peosoldier.army.mil/Equipment/Approved-Eyewear-QPL/ HPD EPL: https://hearing.health.mil/Prevention/Evaluated-Hearing-Protection-Devices

Recommended Content:

Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Hearing Center of Excellence | Vision Center of Excellence

7 Ways to Protect Your Eyes and Ears

Infographic
4/25/2022
7 Ways to Protect Your Eyes and Ears

Be #SightandSoundReady Make protecting your eyes and ears a readiness priority by following these seven steps. If you have signs of hearing or vision loss, make an appointment with your local military hospital or clinic, or visit: https://www.tricare.mil/CoveredServices/Vision/EyeExams/a; https://www.tricare.mil/CoveredServices/IsItCovered/HearingExams

Recommended Content:

Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Hearing Center of Excellence | Vision Center of Excellence

National Save Your Hearing Day (May 31)

Infographic
4/21/2022
National Save Your Hearing Day (May 31)

Don’t take your sense of hearing for granted! You can prevent hearing loss by taking special care of your ears in loud and dangerous environments with hearing protection such as ear coverings or ear plugs. Follow this link to find more ways to protect your ears: https://health.mil/HCEHome

Recommended Content:

May | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Hearing Center of Excellence

Sports Eye Safety Month: Top Sports Injuries

Infographic
3/15/2022
Sports Eye Safety Month: Top Sports Injuries

#DYK? 14.7% of eye injuries occur during sports. Take care of your eyesight and ensure you’re protecting your eyes during strenuous physical activity.

Recommended Content:

April | Hearing Center of Excellence | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention

Sports Eye Safety Month: Eye Injuries

Infographic
3/15/2022
Sports Eye Safety Month: Eye Injuries

#DYK? 14.7% of eye injuries occur during sports. Take care of your eyesight and ensure you’re protecting your eyes during strenuous physical activity.

Recommended Content:

April | Hearing Center of Excellence | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention

BIAM Vision and Hearing

Infographic
2/17/2022
BIAM Vision and Hearing

Vision and hearing are vital senses for effective communication and situational awareness. To defend yourself against injury and maintain mission readiness, wear the proper vision and hearing protection while on and off duty. Find the latest vision and hearing protection recommendations here: • Vision: https://vce.health.mil/Eye-Injury-Prevention-and-Response/Eye-Protection • Hearing: https://hearing.health.mil/Prevention/Evaluated-Hearing-Protection-Devices #BIAMonth #BeTBIReady

Recommended Content:

Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention
<< < 1 2 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 2
Refine your search
Last Updated: April 28, 2022
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery