It turns out, orange juice is more than just a morning beverage! According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers say those who ate at least one orange a day during the study, reduced their risk of developing macular degeneration by 60% compared to those who didn’t. Drink up!
What is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration is an incurable eye disease and is a leading cause of vision loss. It is caused by the deterioration of the central portion of the retina, the inside back layer of the eye that records the images we see and sends them via the optic nerve from the eye to the brain. The macula is responsible for focusing central vision in the eye.
When the macula of the eye deteriorates, the images are not received correctly, which can lead to wavy or blurred vision and even central vision being lost.
Vitamin C for Healthy Vision
Those plenty of foods contain vitamins and nutrients that benefit eye health, oranges seem to be the best. According to lead study author Bamini Gopinath, PhD, “Flavonoid 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 and oranges. Significantly, the data did not show a relationship between other food sources protecting the eyes against the disease.”
Researchers concluded that even eating one orange a week correlated with significant benefits, due to its flavonoids.
Oranges aren’t just eye-catching—they also offer up a bounty of vitamins and nutrients that are good for your eyes, including “eye achievers” beta-carotene, vitamin A and vitamin C.
Probably the best known for eye health, beta carotene is what makes an orange orange. It doesn’t just provide the color, though. As a powerful antioxidant and precursor to Vitamin A, beta carotene promotes good eye health by protecting the cells of the eyes from free radical damage caused by pollution and sun exposure. Beta carotene can also delay cognitive aging and protect skin from sun damage.
Vitamin A, commonly referred to as retinal, retinol, and retonoic acid, is important for both normal and night vision. Other antioxidant benefits include neutralizing the damaging free radicals in the body and supporting your immune system.
Vitamin C is essential to eye health, as it nourishes the eyes and protects them from oxidative stress. Vitamin C can help prevent eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. This antioxidant also protects against cardiovascular disease, boosts the immune system, and helps rebuild collagen in the skin.
This post appeared on Emory Healthcare Blog.