Eye health: Nutritionist reveals foods that protect your eyes
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One approach to healthy eyes is leading a healthy lifestyle. Even your eyesight isn’t immune to a nutritious diet packed with vitamins and nutrients. Now, research suggests that a popular citrus fruit staves off a leading cause of vision loss with gusto.
Whether you tuck into an orange to get some vitamin C or to enjoy the sweet yet zesty flavour, the citrus fruit offers more than a pleasant tasting immunity boost.
According to research from the Westmead Institute for Medical Research, oranges could cut your risk of leading vision loss, known as macular degeneration.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common condition that affects the middle part of your vision, not the edges.
Worryingly, it is also considered one of the leading causes of vision loss, with no cure available.
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According to the NHS, the first symptoms often include a blurred or distorted area in your vision.
Fortunately, the orange fruit was found to reduce the risk of macular degeneration by as much as 60 percent.
Interviewing more than 2,000 Australian adults aged over 50, the researchers found that people who regularly eat oranges are less likely to develop macular degeneration during a 15-year research period.
While those who enjoy the citrus fruit regularly seem to have the greatest levels of protection, even eating orange once a week seems to offer “significant benefits”.
The 60 percent reduction was observed in those who ate at least one serving of oranges every day.
When it comes to the potent part of the fruit responsible for these benefits, the researchers put it down to flavonoids – various compounds that naturally occur in many fruits and vegetables.
Lead Researcher Associate Professor Bamini Gopinath said: “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.
“Even eating an orange once a week seems to offer significant benefits.
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“The data shows that flavonoids found in oranges appear to help protect against the disease.”
Most research has focused on the effects of vitamins, including C, E and A on the eyes but this study is one of the first to look at flavonoids.
Associate Professor Gopinath added: “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.”
The research drew on data from the Blue Mountains Eye Study, a benchmark population-based study that started in 1992.
It is considered one of the world’s largest epidemiology studies, which measured diet and lifestyle factors against health outcomes and a range of chronic diseases.
“Our research aims to understand why eye diseases occur, as well as the genetic and environmental conditions that may threaten vision,” Associate Professor Gopinath concluded.
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