Want to Protect Your Vision? An Orange a Day May Do The Trick
Australian scientists found that people who eat oranges regularly have a dramatically lower risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) than those who don’t. AMD is one of the top causes of vision loss in people age 50 and older: reports the National Eye Institute. The disease damages the macula, a small structure in the center of the retina, which results in a gradual deterioration of central vision. It has no cure.
Daily Orange Consumption Reduced Risk by 60 Percent
The 15-year study at Westmead Institute for Medical Research involved 2,000 adults over the age of 50. The authors used data from a food frequency questionnaire to determine dietary intake, and they employed phytochemical databases to estimate the flavonoid content of foods consumed.
In analyzing data, the research team first made adjustments for factors that can affect AMD risk such as fish consumption, smoking habits and the intakes of lutein and zeaxanthin. The findings showed individuals who ate at least one orange daily had a more than 60-percent reduced risk of receiving a diagnosis of AMD 15 years later compared to those who didn’t eat oranges. Moreover, even eating one orange per week lowered the likelihood of the eye disease significantly.
Flavonoids in Oranges Provided the Protection
According to the lead researcher, Associate Professor Bamini Gopinath from the University of Sydney, the data revealed that flavonoids were the component of the fruit that seemed to provide the protection.
“Essentially we found that people who eat at least one serving of orange every day have a reduced risk of developing macular degeneration compared with people who never eat oranges,” she said. “Even eating an orange once a week seems to offer significant benefits. The data shows that flavonoids found in oranges appear to help protect against the disease.”
Until now, most of the research on macular degeneration has investigated the effects of common nutrients and antioxidants, such as vitamins E, C and A, on the eyes, Gopinath said. To date, only a limited number of studies have examined phytochemicals with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties like flavonoids.
“Our research is different because we focused on the relationship between flavonoids and macular degeneration. Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants found in almost all fruits and vegetables, and they have important anti-inflammatory benefits for the immune system. We examined common foods that contain flavonoids such as tea, apples, red wine and oranges. Significantly, the data did not show a relationship between other food sources protecting the eyes against the disease,” she said.
The authors used data from the Blue Mountains Eye Study, which is one of the world’s largest epidemiology investigations. It explores correlations between lifestyle factors, such as diet, with a variety of chronic diseases.
“Our research aims to understand why eye diseases occur, as well as the genetic and environmental conditions that may threaten vision,” Gopinath concluded.
The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.