Saturday 17 February 2018

Eat your greens ... and oranges

Organic carrots
Organic carrots

Good news for those who want to reduce their risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of sight loss in Ireland in the over-50s.

Mother's advice to eat your carrots because they are good for your eyes may be well founded.

A new study suggests pigments called carotenoids, which give red or orange hues to carrots, sweet potatoes and orange peppers, or deep greens to produce like spinach, broccoli and kale, may help prevent this disease.

Although it does not prove cause and effect, people who consumed the very highest levels of carotenoids, known as lutein and zeaxanthin, had a 40pc lower risk of the advanced form of AMD compared to those who ate the very least, the results from Harvard School of Public Health found.

Lutein is found in eggs and dark leafy vegetables including broccoli, kale and spinach. Zeaxanthin is more difficult to find in the diet, but you can get it from corn, orange peppers and goji berries. Both lutein and zeaxanthin concentrate in the macula, where they are thought to protect it from damage from oxygen and light, said the study in JAMA Ophthalmology. Other advice includes:

l stop smoking if you smoke;

l wear UV-absorbing glasses when outside for long periods;

l don't go beyond recommended alcohol limits.

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