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Saturday, November 5, 2022

Eat Carrot .. .. See well !! - read (my posts) well !!!


Surprisingly it was a War-time propaganda! – what ?   

When we went to schools – 4 or 5 decades back – our lunch was – sambar satham and/or  curd rice with a small portion of vegetables; rarely Idly/dosa and rarer still Poori  .. .. breads / Horlicks when you had fever !

The modern day parents (read as caring mothers!) pack variety of things – some differently shaped, different combos, salads and .. .. Carrots – propagating that they are good for health and good for eyes !!  There are some who are made to eat  carrots every day,  still those needing eye-glasses are on the high side.    Although carrots are full of Vitamin A, which is good for eye health, the vegetable cannot improve night-time vision. There is no science to back up this notion, and yet for years, people have believed that carrots can truly improve their eyesight.

Carrot is a crunchy root vegetable that is highly nutritious, crunchy, and tasty. They are a good source of fibre, vitamin K, beta carotene, potassium, and antioxidants. Carrot is also touted to  improving eye health and is linked to dynamically reducing cholesterol levels. However, some diabetic patients feel confused about whether eating a carrot would raise their blood sugar levels.

Carrot, Radish, Beetroot, Potato, yam, Onion, Ginger, peanut – all grow underground. Root vegetables are plant roots used as vegetables. Here "root" means any underground part of a plant. Root vegetables are generally storage organs, enlarged to store energy in the form of carbohydrates. They differ in the concentration and the balance between sugars, starches, and other types of carbohydrate. Botany distinguishes true roots such as tuberous roots and taproots from non-roots.

We all eat carrot [Daucus carota] is a root vegetable, usually orange in colour, though purple, red, white, and yellow varieties exist. It has a crisp texture when fresh. The most commonly eaten part of a carrot is a taproot, although the greens are edible as well.

Carrots develop normally within a great range of temperatures and are grown throughout the world with the exception of the very warmest areas.  Carrots are sort of easy to grow. Carrot varieties are described as early or maincrop varieties, but also either short-root or long-root varieties. Early carrot varieties take around 12 weeks to mature and maincrop carrot varieties are ready in around 16 weeks.  Carrots are mature at around 2 ½ months and ½ inch in diameter. You may harvest when desired maturity is reached.  Experts say that the tops of the carrot will show at the soil line and you can gauge when the diameter looks right for your variety. If the diameter looks good, chances are the length is fine too.

Carrots, are relished in a variety of forms — raw, cooked, and even in desserts.   “It’s not a special diet, it’s not an expensive supplement, and, it doesn’t take hours to do it. It’s a humble veggie hiding in plain sight…carrots – promoted as   rich source of beta-carotene and carotenoids.

With all the hype of a magic health food – now read on :    During The Blitz and the Battle of Britain in 1940, the German Luftwaffe often made their attacks at night, under a cover of darkness. To make it more difficult for the Luftwaffe to hit their targets, the British Government issued citywide blackouts. This meant the Luftwaffe and Royal Airforce were fighting above English cities in complete darkness.

In 1939, the Royal Air Force first used a secret technology they were developing called the onboard Airborne Interception Radar (AI), which would eventually help the RAF repel the German fighters in 1940. AI had the ability to pinpoint the location of enemy bombers before they reached the English Channel.  After Cunningham’s success with AI, the British Government decided to start their own propaganda campaign, with carrots being the focal point. The British Ministry of propaganda told newspapers that pilots like Cunningham were so successful because they ate an excess of carrots.

Pictures of Cunningham were published with captions that claimed he had the night vision of a cat. Cunningham was presented as a superhero who got his powers from eating lots of carrots. These carrots gave Cunningham ample Vitamin A, which helped him shoot down German bombers in the dark. This propaganda campaign most definitely encouraged young pilots everywhere to eat more carrots. However, the real target of this propaganda campaign was not the British military, but instead, the Germans. There is no evidence on whether or not the Germans fell for this propaganda campaign. After all, at no point during the Second World War did Germans start targeting carrot gardens during their bombing campaigns.

There are no official German publications about carrots, but it was believed that the Germans fell for some of this propaganda campaign. According to John Stolarczyk, curator of the World Carrot Museum, “there are apocryphal takes that the Germans started feeding their own pilots carrots, as they thought there was some truth in it.” On the other hand, the British people as a whole definitely bought into this propaganda campaign. They believed that eating carrots would help them see better during blackouts. The Food Ministry took the carrot craze a step further and promoted the vegetable as an alternative to fruit in cakes and tarts because of their natural sweetness. They were even stuck onto sticks and given to young children instead of ice cream or lollipops.

BUT . .. … eating carrots does not improve a healthy person’s vision, though  British propaganda helped popularize this myth during World War II. Not wanting to reveal their new onboard radar systems, they claimed their pilots’ nighttime success came from carrot-enhanced vision.

Whether Carrots really taste good and whether you want them more in your planned diet, is of course, your decision.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
4th Nov. 2022.

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