Do Oranges Prevent Macular Degeneration?

Do Oranges Prevent Macular Degeneration?

Sometimes it’s the simplest things that can get you where you are going in one piece. When it comes to macular degeneration, one of the leading causes of blindness in the world, eating a weekly dose of fresh oranges may be one of the best things you can do to prevent it.

Upwards of 11 million Americans struggle with macular degeneration so if you are lucky enough to not be one of the afflicted, then prevention should be your number one concern. There are several things you can do to ward off this disease such as supplemental vitamin additions and daily habits like protecting yourself with sunglasses. Yet, it just might be the natural compounds called flavonoids, recently studied in oranges, that could hold a substantial key to keeping macular degeneration away from your precious eyes for good.

The Flavor of Phytonutrients

Flavonoids are plant chemicals called phytonutrients or polyphenolic plant compounds found in almost every classification of fruits and vegetables. Working with another plant chemical called carotenoids, these compounds are mainly responsible for giving produce the vivid colors that make them so appealing. There are approximately 6,000 types of flavonoids with quercetin and kaempferol some of the most popular flavonoids found in supplemental form.

According to Live Science,

“Many of the biological effects of flavonoids appear to be related to their ability to modulate a number of cell-signaling cascades. Flavonoids have been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory, anti-thrombogenic (reduces clotting), anti-diabetic, anti-cancer, and neuroprotective activities through different mechanisms of action in vitro and in animal models.”

Study Results of the Benefits of Flavonoids

It is important to understand the long reach of consuming flavonoids from fruits and vegetables. These are some of many study results of this powerful plant compound.

  • Erectile Dysfunction – Sometimes all you need is less bad and more good dietary choices to keep your health running on all cylinders. This has been shown in study after study for erectile dysfunction. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition cited a study of 50,000 men who regularly consumed flavonoid rich foods and found that 10 percent presented a reduced risk of erectile dysfunction than men who didn’t consume flavonoids.
  • Parkinson’s – The debilitating effects of Parkinson’s disease may be staved off by flavonoids. Time magazine reported that, “Harvard School of Public Health and Norwich Medical School looked at 130,000 men and women participating in the Nurses’ Health Study…More than 800 participants developed Parkinson’s disease over the study’s 20-year follow-up. After adjusting for age and lifestyle, the researchers found that men who ate the most flavonoids were 40% less likely to develop Parkinson’s than men who ate the least.”
  • Muscle Support – Medical Daily reported that, “One study also found improved muscle function and reduced soreness after exercise in participants who consumed 400mg of vitamin C every day. Approximately 70 milligrams of vitamin C can be found in a medium orange while slightly bigger-sized ones can contain up to 100 milligrams.”
  • Anti-diabetic – Published in BioMed Research International an international study determined the cellular benefits of flavonoids for preventing diabetes. “The radical derivatives of oxygen (ROS) are the most important free radical in biological systems and harmful byproducts generated during normal cellular functions. Increasing intake of natural antioxidants may help to maintain a tolerable antioxidant status, thus preventing the oxidative stress that could lead to pathogenesis of diabetes mellitus. Flavonoids are one of the most important groups of bioactive compounds among secondary metabolites.”

The list for the natural healing capability of flavonoids and other polyphenolic plant compounds goes on and now preventing macular degeneration can be placed right at the top.

15 Year Study Links Oranges to Lowering Eye Disease

Taking supplements can often be an excellent adjunct to a healthy diet, particularly when trying to play defense against all the pollutants you experience each day. There is continued skepticism, yet many researchers still concur that specified, additional antioxidants and other immune boosting vitamins, minerals, and enzymes have good science behind them to show enhanced systemic functioning.

However, it is the ‘healthy diet’ that seems to hold the key to a full spectrum of nutrients your body has been wired to embrace. Supplements do not contain the labyrinth of connected compounds that whole, plant-based foods do. One example is recent research which has shown that eating oranges may reduce your risk of developing macular degeneration.

A 15 year Australian study using data from the prestigious 1992 Blue Mountains Eye Study, one of the world’s largest epidemiology studies, was recently presented by researchers at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research. It consisted of 2,856 adults at a 49 year old baseline and followed each for 15 years collecting information from a remaining 2,037 participants.

Newsweek reported on a portion of the study conclusion published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (7/6/18) which stated,

“Eating at least one serving of oranges every day was associated with a 60 percent reduction in the overall risk of developing macular degeneration 15 years later.”

According to Dr. Bamini Gopinath, lead author of the study and associate professor of epidemiology at University of Sydney,

“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…Even eating an orange once a week seems to offer significant benefits…Our research is different because we focused on the relationship between flavonoids and macular degeneration,…In our analysis we accounted for Vitamin C intake and the association persisted even after we accounted for that,”

Other foods high in flavonoids such as, berries, grapes, and apples where considered as well but did not show the high results that oranges did. Therefore, no flavonoid source is the same and should be considered suspect if advertised as otherwise.

Now is the time to take as many pre-emptive strikes at disease as you can. When it comes to macular degeneration, maintain a healthy diet and exercise program while keeping an orange in your daily bag of tricks. If you can, get organic grown produce which not only is a healthier choice but it is a great way to support the environment.