Fact or Fiction: Carrots improve eyes, fluids heal sickness?

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

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Doctors recommend fluids when fighting a cold, but it’s not definitively clear why.

We’ve all heard the sayings that eating a ton of crunchy carrots will improve bad eyesight, while drinking fluids when we’re sick hydrates us back to health. Is there any truth to these myths, or are they just old wives’ tales that should be laid down to rest?

Believe it or not, carrots are very important for vision, but not in a way that strengthens eyesight! In order to process the light that enters through pupils, our eyes need to carry out a surprisingly complex series of chemical processes. These reactions couldn’t happen without the molecule vitamin A. Well, guess which veggie is packed with this nutrient? Yep, carrots! So, while eating them doesn’t improve vision, they definitely provide a vitamin that makes vision possible. Just be sure not to eat too many at once, because your skin will take on an interesting shade of sickly yellow!

Speaking of things that are sick, is it true that guzzling cups of fluids will get rid of a sickness faster? Unfortunately, this myth isn’t as clear cut. When we’re sick, we lose a ton of water through sweat, mucus, and runny noses. It’d make logical sense to replenish our dehydrating bodies, but there aren’t any scientific studies that look specifically into this phenomenon.

One study did show that that drinking excess water can actually be harmful if that individual is suffering from pneumonia (infection of the lungs) or other breathing-related illnesses! However, those forms of sickness are very different from the common case of sniffles. Since several doctors recommend their patients should drink more water when sick, it definitely doesn’t hurt to do so with a regular cold.

Featured image courtesy of Jeremy Keith on Wikimedia.