This article originally appeared on Live in the Now.
You have probably heard many times that eating carrots promotes better vision. While this vegetable is extremely beneficial for the eyes and general health, research finds eating several pieces of fruit per day, especially apricots, is even better for protecting the vision of older adults.
Apricots contain carotenoids called lutein and zeaxanthin, which are absorbed into a structure of the retina called the macula lutea. As this is the part of the eye affected by age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), the consumption of fruits rich in this compound may help prevent the disease.
Afflicting millions of Americans, ARMD is the leading cause of vision loss in adults aged 55 and older. Since the condition is incurable, victims lose the ability to read, drive a car and see objects in detail.
Three Servings of Fruit Per Day Cuts ARMD Risk by 36 Percent
In a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology, researchers examined the dietary intake of a group of 100,000 adults over a period of 12 to 18 years. Surprisingly, the results didn’t show a strong correlation between vegetable intake and a lower incidence of ARMD. Conversely, those who ate three or more pieces of fruit per day had a 36 percent risk reduction in developing ARMD compared to those who ate less than 1.5 servings of fruit per day.
Health Benefits of Apricots
All fruit is rich in enzymes and nutrients that help reduce the risk of disease. To illustrate how a single fruit can pack a powerful health punch, let’s examine the value of apricots.
Several studies show the Japanese apricot as well as the kind commonly eaten in the U.S. have promise in fighting an array of malignancies, including colon, stomach and advanced liver cancer. In research published in the World Journal of Hepatology, an extract of the Japanese apricot was administered to a patient with advanced liver cancer that had spread to the lymph nodes and lungs. Chemotherapy had proved ineffective, so the extract was tried as a final alternative. After three months, the cancer in the lymph nodes and lungs had reduced in size.
Apricots may protect the liver. The British Journal of Nutrition published a study that found dietary intake of apricots could reduce liver damage caused by free radicals along with lower the risk of fatty liver disease.
The fruit is a good source of catechins, a phytonutrient with potent anti-inflammatory properties. This may help protect blood vessels from the damage of inflammation.
Apricots are high in beta-carotene, a vitamin that prevents low-density lipoprotein cholesterol oxidation, which may reduce the risk of heart disease.
They are plentiful in vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant that protects cells and tissues, including the lenses of the eyes. In another study, researchers examining the diets of 50,000 registered nurses found those with the highest vitamin A intake had a 40 percent reduction in their risk of developing cataracts.
The fruit contains fiber, a dietary constituent that facilitates good bowel function while lowering the risk of intestinal diseases like diverticulitis.