Could a capsicum save your sight?
Age-related macular degeneration is the most common cause of blindness in Australia.
Responsible for half of all cases, it affects one-third of all people over 80 years old.
A naturally occurring carotenoid known as zeaxanthin protects against macular degeneration by shielding the macula, an area in the centre of the retina, from blue light.
Researchers from the University of Queensland have discovered that orange capsicums are the richest source of zeaxanthin, which cannot be produced by our bodies and needs to be obtained in our diet.
Zeaxanthin is found in other fruits and vegetables, but only in tiny quantities. Other varieties of capsicums do not contain the substance.
Eating orange capsicums could help reduce the incidence of macular degeneration by 25%, according to lead researcher Dr Tim O’Hare.
O’Hare says that orange capsicums are the richest source of the carotenoid, with a single capsicum containing the equivalent of up to 30 supplement tablets.
The university is working to improve the availability of the orange variety, which can be difficult to find.
At PIM we have a particular interest in the role of diet and nutrition in our health and wellbeing. Contact us to learn more.