Are carrots actually good for your eyes? Try this festive honey glazed carrots recipe to boost your eye health
16 December 2021
Do carrots really help you see in the dark?
We’ve all heard that carrots help you see in the dark, but how much truth is actually in that saying? The idea originates from World War II where the British RAF began using new radar technology to target and shoot down enemy planes. Obviously, they wanted to keep this as secret as possible, so a rumour was spread that their pilots had such good night vision because they ate lots of carrots! It’s safe to say this legend has stuck, with parents from around the country now encouraging their children to eat carrots in order to gain special see-in-the-dark benefits.
While this whole carrot rumour was initially used to hide the truth, there actually are some advantages to your eyesight brought on by eating carrots. Carrots, like most orange-coloured fruit and veg, contain antioxidant beta carotene, as well as lutein. Your body converts this into vitamin A and this, in turn, helps with the production of rod and cone cells in your eyes. Your rod cells detect lightness and darkness so a boost of vitamin A certainly does help you see better when it comes to low lighting. Vitamin A from carrots can also reduce your risk factor for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts and glaucoma.
With this in mind, and with Christmas just around the corner, we thought it was the perfect time to share our favourite festive carrot recipe. Carrots make the perfect addition to any Christmas table – and even more so now that we know about their vision-boosting qualities. While we’re on the topic of Christmas foods and their benefits for eye health, we also thought we’d have a quick look at cranberries and their impacts on your eye health.
Cranberries are a rich source of bioflavonoids, a type of antioxidant, and vitamin C. Flavonoids and vitamin C both protect your eyes from damage caused by pollution around us, as well as from your body’s normal metabolic processes. It is also thought that cranberries provide protection from AMD, a condition which results in deterioration of your central vision. Clearly, a bit of cranberry sauce with your Christmas dinner also benefits your vision!
To make your own cranberry sauce, you’ll just need 100g of sugar, 100ml of orange juice, and 250g of cranberries (either fresh or frozen). Simply add your sugar and orange juice to a pan and then bring to the boil. Add the cranberries and simmer them until soft. Transfer the sauce from the pan into a Tupperware or other container of your choice. Refrigerate for one week before serving. (Recipe sourced from BBC Good Food)
How to make festive honey glazed carrots
Now, let’s move onto the star of our vision-boosting Christmas show… the honey glazed carrots! Carrots can come in so many forms to accompany a roast dinner (baked, sautéed, boiled), and a Christmas dinner is the mother of all roasts, so it’s important that the carrots don’t let the side down.
This glazed carrot recipe is sure to hit the spot during this festive season…
Carrots (quantity is entirely dependent on how many people are around your table, and how much they like carrots!)
For the sauce -
- Salted butter
- Honey (can be replaced with maple syrup if you prefer)
- 1-2 cloves of garlic
- Squirt of lemon juice
- Handful of a herb of your choice (recommendations are thyme, parsley or rosemary)
Quantities of these ingredients depend on how many carrots you’re glazing and how much of the honey, herb, and garlic flavour you want them to have. For a stickier, thicker glaze, up the quantity of the ingredients and pour generously over your carrots.
- This first step is entirely optional depending on how you like your carrots, but you can either peel them or leave them au naturel. Whichever method you choose, you should still top and tail them, as well as give them a quick rinse. Cut them in half lengthways so they cook quicker.
- Use a garlic press or finely chop your garlic and add it into the pan over a medium heat with a small amount of butter. Gently fry the garlic.
- Add in the rest of the butter, along with a squirt of lemon juice and the amount of honey you desire. For a thicker, stickier glaze, add more honey. Leave it to simmer.
- Finely chop your herbs and add these into the pan for 2 minutes over a low heat.
- Place your carrots into a baking dish and pour over half of the honey butter dressing. Make sure your carrots are well coated in the sauce.
- Roast your carrots for 20 minutes on 180 degrees. When you take them out, test them with a sharp knife to ensure they are as soft or as al dente as you prefer.
- While the carrots and baking dish are still piping hot, pour over the second half of the honey butter mix and leave to stand for a few minutes before serving. Add salt and pepper to taste.
And there you have a fool-proof glazed carrots recipe! They are the perfect accompaniment to a Christmas dinner, as is the cranberry sauce which you can whip up in a cool ten minutes. Enjoy these parts of your Christmas dinner in the knowledge that you’re also boosting your eye health.
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