A study has found that eating oranges every day can protect people from developing macular degeneration, the common cause of blindness which has no cure at present.

People who include at least one serving of oranges in their daily meals had more than a 60 percent reduced risk of developing macular degeneration 15 years later. Eating one serving of oranges once a week provides significant health benefits as well.

While there have been previous studies highlighting the importance of vitamins to good eyesight, the new study focused on flavonoids and its effect on macular degeneration.

Flavonoids are antioxidants found in nearly all fruits and vegetables. They boost the immune system's anti-inflammatory capability. 

Aside from oranges, the new study also examined other foods with flavonoids, such as tea, apples, and red wine. Interestingly, the study found no other food sources that can protect the eyes from macular degeneration.

Macular degeneration is more likely to occur after the age of 50. The Centers for Disease Control And Prevention said it is a major cause of blindness worldwide and the leading cause of vision loss for Americans aged 65 years and older.

The disease destroys the sharp, central vision that is important for people to see clearly. Once macular degeneration sets in, a person may find it difficult to read texts on a computer, phone, and newspaper. The person will also have problems driving and watching television.

Eating An Orange A Day

For the study, published in The American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition on July 6, researchers at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research interviewed more than 2,000 Australian adults aged over 50. The researchers monitored them for 15 years.

Bamini Gopinath, lead researcher and associate professor from the University of Sydney, said the study strongly suggested that flavonoids in oranges helped prevent against the eye disease among the participants of the study.

Gopinath and her team also examined data from the Blue Mountains Eye study which started in 1992. The study is one of the world's largest studies to measure the impact of diet and lifestyle on the overall health of people.

Macular Degeneration

CDC said macular degeneration can be prevented by quitting smoking or never ever starting to smoke in the first place. The center also advised consulting doctors if there is a history of the disease within the family. This will help people to find out about the disease early, allowing for timely medical intervention.

Ultimately, CDC said practicing a healthy lifestyle and reducing cholesterol can help lower the risk of the eye disease. A diet with a combination of vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, Zinc, and copper can reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration by 25 percent.

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