Or­anges are good for eye­sight

Irish Daily Mail - - News - By Colin Fer­nan­dez

AS CHIL­DREN we were told that the best way to pro­tect our eye­sight was to crunch on a car­rot. Now sci­en­tists say that if we want our vi­sion to stay sharp through­out life we should be eat­ing or­anges in­stead.

Just one a day sig­nif­i­cantly cuts the risk of de­vel­op­ing mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion, a study shows. The in­cur­able con­di­tion is the most com­mon cause of sight loss in the el­derly.

Re­searchers in­ter­viewed more than 2,000 over-50s and fol­lowed them over a 15-year pe­riod. Those who ate at least one or­ange a day re­duced their risk of de­vel­op­ing mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion 15 years later by over 60%. The Aus­tralian re­searchers be­lieve the ef­fect is caused by an an­tiox­i­dant called flavonoids.

Or­anges were not the only fruit the sci­en­tists stud­ied. The team also looked at ap­ples and com­mon drinks such as tea and red wine. But none of these ap­peared to pre­vent mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion.

Study au­thor Bamini Gopinath, from the Uni­ver­sity of Syd­ney, 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.’

The West­mead In­sti­tute for Med­i­cal Re­search team em­barked on their study in the hope of un­der­stand­ing the causes of eye dis­eases, and the ge­netic and en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions that may threaten vi­sion.

Pre­vi­ous stud­ies fo­cused on the ef­fect that com­mon nu­tri­ents such as vi­ta­mins C, E and A have on the eyes. But Pro­fes­sor Gopinath’s study took a new ap­proach. She said: ‘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.’

She added that, apart from or­anges, ‘the data did not show a re­la­tion­ship be­tween other food sources pro­tect­ing the eyes against the dis­ease’.

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