Eating just one orange a day could prevent a common cause of blindness, new research suggests.
Snacking on the popular citrus fruit reduces people's risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which affects central vision, by 60 per cent, a study found.
Lead author Professor Bamini Gopinath, from the University of Sydney, said: 'The data shows that flavonoids found in oranges appear to help protect against the disease.
'Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants found in almost all fruits and vegetables, and they have important anti-inflammatory benefits for the immune system.'
Despite flavonoids also being found in other produce such as apples, for unclear reasons, only antioxidants in oranges protect against sight loss.
Previous studies focussed on the effect that common nutrients such as Vitamin C,E and A have on the eyes.
But Professor Gopinath's study took a new approach.
She aid: Our research is different because we focused on the relationship between flavanoids and macular degeneration.
'Flavanoids are powerful antioxodants found in almost all fruits and vegetables, and they have important anti-inflammatory benefits for the immune system.'
The researchers analysed 2,037 adults with an average age of 49 for up to 15 years.
The participants' diets were assessed via food questionnaires.
Results suggest that eating oranges protects against AMD compared to never snacking on the fruit.
Professor Gopinath added: 'Even eating an orange once a week seems to offer significant benefits.'
The researchers plan to investigate what genetic and environmental factors cause eye diseases to occur.
The findings were published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
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