Since the very first Christmas on 25 December AD 336, boys and girls have left carrots out for Rudolph on Christmas Eve and until now, nobody knew why carrots are so important for reindeer on Christmas Eve.

Over the last number of years, scientists from the Nutrition Research Centre Ireland (NRCI) at South East Technological University (SETU) have been working day and night with Santa Claus and his elves to uncover the magic ingredient in carrots which helps the reindeer to see and to remember where all the boys and girls from all over the world live so they can deliver presents on Christmas eve.

The exciting news is that the scientists and elves have discovered the special ingredients which are known as carotenoids just in time for Christmas this year! Carotenoids are natural pigments found in healthy foods, fruit and vegetables, including carrots.

The scientists discovered that the carotenoids have special powers that can enhance vision and brain health in people also, so this breakthrough is also important for boys and girls, and mams and dads, as they must eat healthy food so that they can have good vision and brain health, just like Rudolph.

The team in Waterford put their expertise to work again and created a special magic formula made up of healthy carotenoids which can now be left out for the reindeer on Christmas Eve, giving them a super boost to help them deliver presents all over the world.

Excited about this discover, Santa Claus arranged a Christmas party for the scientists and their families at the NRCI, and made a surprise visit himself to thank the team for all their hard work. He collected the magic carotenoid formula to bring back to the North Pole, and is now very busy getting ready for Christmas Eve.  

Speaking about the discovery, Prof John Nolan, the Director of the NRCI, said “We are very excited about this discovery and we are delighted that Santa’s reindeer will have perfect vision and memory this Christmas eve.

“It is also very important that that boys and girls now understand why eating healthy foods, containing carotenoids (carrots, broccoli, corn, bananas, apples, for example), is so important for healthy vision and brain health. We look forward to helping Santa Claus for many years to come and we will continue to provide the carotenoid formula to the North Pole so we will be very busy every Christmas.

Santa Claus said, “We are very grateful to the scientists at the NRCI for all their work. I also now like healthy foods and take the carotenoids formula, but will still have some cookies on Christmas Eve! Rudolph, also enjoys the carotenoid formula, and especially likes meso-zeaxanthin. The elves tell me that this carotenoid has extra special powers”.