A recently published Australian study claims people who regularly eat oranges have a significantly lower risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Scientists believe certain antioxidant-rich flavonoids in oranges are responsible for their eye health benefits.
Researchers at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research tracked 2,000 patients, all of whom were over 50-years-old, for 15 years. In addition to looking at their eye health records, study authors asked each patient how many oranges they ate per week.
Amazingly, the data showed a clear correlation between how often a person ate oranges and his/her risk of developing AMD. According to this study, patients who ate one orange every day had a 60 percent lower risk of getting AMD.
Obviously, the more a person eats oranges, the lower the risk of developing AMD. However, study authors also claim people can significantly reduce their chances of developing AMD even if they only eat one orange per week.
Although oranges were the primary focus of this study, scientists are curious if other flavonoid-rich foods could reduce the incidence of AMD. Further research is needed to see if the regular consumption of flavonoid-rich drinks & foods like red wine, green tea, or blueberries have the same benefits as oranges.
AMD is a common retinal disorder that tends to affect people over the age of 40. There are two main kinds of AMD: dry and wet. The dry form of AMD is more common and causes a person’s retinae to deteriorate slowly over time. Wet AMD, which is caused by bleeding retinal vessels, is far more severe.
Recent estimates suggest about 2.5 percent of people in the UK have some form of AMD. Doctors expect the rates of AMD to increase year-on-year due to the global aging population.
It’s important for everyone over the age of 40 to get a yearly eye screening to check for AMD. While there’s no cure for AMD, optometrists can help keep symptoms under control with medications, supplements, and dietary changes.
Dr. Bamini Gopinath, who works at the Westmead Institute’s Center for Vision Research, was the lead author on this study. A few other key researchers include Drs. Gerald Liew, Annette Kifley, and Victoria M. Flood.
Anyone interested in this study should pick up the latest copy of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. This article was published under the title, “Dietary flavonoids and the prevalence and 15-y incidence of age-related macular degeneration.”