Loss of vision is one of the main reasons seniors lose their independence.
With failing vision, you can’t drive. Many routine daily tasks, such as reading, become difficult.
That’s why it’s so important to take care of your eyes.
Macular degeneration (MD) is the leading cause of blindness in seniors. Some 30% of people will develop MD by age 75. About 11 million Americans now suffer from the condition.1
Now, a new study has found that eating one common fruit cuts your risk in half.2
Researchers at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research in Sydney, Australia, followed the eye health of more than 2,000 adults over 15-years. The subjects were at least 49 years old at the start of the research.3
Throughout the study, participants regularly filled out questionnaires on their diet. In the final years of the study, the researchers tested the subjects’ eyes for MD using retinal photography.
An Orange a Day Keeps Vision Problems Away
The study found that people who ate at least one orange a day had a more than 60% lower risk of MD.
Dr. Bamini Gopinath was the lead researcher on the study. She is an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Sydney. The Westmead Institute is affiliated with the university.
“Essentially we found that people who eat at least one 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 study recently was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The Sight-Saving Secret in Oranges
The researchers said that flavonoids in oranges “help protect against the disease.”
Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants. They are found in almost all fruits and vegetables. But the researchers found that only eating oranges–not other flavonoid-rich foods–helps prevent MD.
“We examined common foods that contain flavonoids such as tea, apples, and red wine,” said Dr. Gopinath. “The data did not show a relationship between other food sources protecting the eyes against the disease.”
Previous research shows that the flavonoids in oranges are different. They include the molecules hesperetin and herperidin. Other fruits and vegetables contain little, if any, of these compounds.
Get the Most Eye Health Benefit from Oranges
We consume most of our oranges through juice. But juice won’t help your eyes. Most of the beneficial compounds are contained in the peel and inner white pulp. Juicing removes them.4
Recipes that call for heating oranges will also reduce the flavonoids.
To get the most benefit, eat a fresh orange every day.
You can use oranges in salads and smoothies without destroying their eyesight benefits. Just make sure that you don’t strain out the pulp. Choose organic oranges when they are available.
Here’s a tasty recipe adapted from epicurious.com that brings you all the vision benefits of fresh oranges.
Asian Orange and Avocado Salad
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
2 organic navel oranges
6-ounces organic baby spinach leaves
1 avocado pitted, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Whisk first five ingredients in large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set dressing aside.
Peel oranges. Cut oranges into 1/3-inch rounds. Cut rounds crosswise in half. Add spinach to dressing; toss to coat. Add avocado and orange; toss gently.
Makes two large salads or four small ones.5
Editor’s Note: Failing eyesight is just one more thing we have to worry about as we get older. But recent studies show that the symptoms of aging are just like any others. They can be treated or eliminated. Go here to discover specific ways you can stop the clock—and even turn it back.