By: Source - Science Daily. July 12th 2018
Oranges are available all year round and in winter particularly we are advised to eat the whole fruit for its fibre and, in particular, the vitamin C content. Traditional navel oranges, Cara Cara and blood oranges are the varieties of choice at this time of year, an aside from their great taste and immune boosting qualities, scientists have discovered another compelling reason to enjoy an orange a day.
The study conducted by researchers at Sydney's Westmead Institute for Medical Research found people who regularly eat oranges are less likely to develop macular degeneration than people who do not eat oranges.
The study followed more than 2,000 Australian adults aged over 50 over a 15-year period and found that those who ate at least one serving of oranges every day had more than a 60% reduced risk of developing late macular degeneration 15 years later.
One in seven Australians over 50 have some signs of macular degeneration. Age is the strongest known risk factor and the disease is more likely to occur after the age of 50.
There is currently no cure for the disease.
Lead Researcher Associate Professor Bamini Gopinath from the University of Sydney said the data showed that flavonoids in oranges appear to help prevent against the eye disease.
"Essentially we found that people who eat at least one serve of 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 data shows that flavonoids found in oranges appear to help protect against the disease."
Associate Professor Gopinath said that until now most research has focused on the effects of common nutrients such as vitamins C, E and A on the eyes.
"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.
"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," she said.
The research compiled data from the Blue Mountains Eye Study, a benchmark population-based study that started in 1992.
It is one of the world's largest epidemiology studies, measuring diet and lifestyle factors against health outcomes and a range of chronic diseases.
1. Bamini Gopinath Gerald Liew Annette Kifley Victoria M Flood Nichole Joachim Joshua R Lewis Jonathan M Hodgson Paul Mitchell. Dietary flavonoids and the prevalence and 15-y incidence of age-related macular degeneration. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2018 DOI: 10.1093/ajcn/nqy114
Westmead Institute for Medical Research. "An orange a day keeps macular degeneration away: 15-year study." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 July 2018. .