A common joke in optometry is when patients come in telling me their vision is perfect because they’ve been eating a lot of carrots. A few have even gone so far as to offer scientific evidence by pointing out that they’ve never seen a rabbit wearing glasses. Of course, they are there for an eye exam so I can’t trust what they’ve “seen.”
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture have found a way to “super-charge” carrots by quickly passing slices under UV light. This process produced three times as many antioxidants as compared to your regular mild-mannered carrots.
The head researcher, Tara McHugh, said, “The hypotheses is that it’s a stress response to protect the plant.”
In normal plant and human cells, UV light usually produces free-radicals that damage cells. Antioxidants render free-radicals harmless by binding to them and absorbing the UV rays directly.
Some food companies, such as Dole, already sell UV-treated mushrooms with increased vitamin D levels.
The researchers are turning their focus to sweet potatoes and other root vegetables that aren’t normally exposed to the sun’s UV light.
Although this research is interesting, I wouldn’t throw out your glasses just yet.