|Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor|
A spice called saffron, which is often used in curries, may help your eyes stay sharp as you age.
University of Sydney, Australia researchers studied the effects of saffron on age related macular degeneration (AMD) and published their findings in the March 2010 issue of the British Journal of Gynaecology.
AMD is the leading cause of severe vision loss and blindness in the Western world. It is a progressive disease that attacks the macula of the eye and affects over 15 million Americans. It causes central vision loss and leaves only peripheral vision.
For the study, the researchers recruited 20 mature adults with AMD, and divided the participants into two groups.
One group was given a daily saffron pill for three months and then for the following three months they were given a placebo. The other group did the opposite and took the placebo pill first followed by the saffron pill.
The researchers observed improvements in vision among all of the participants when they were actively taking daily saffron pills. The saffron pill not only seemed to improve vision tests, some participants even reported being able to read books and newspapers again.
The researchers are now initiating a more in depth year-long study in order to find the optimum dosage and mechanisms behind their findings.
Saffron is not the only natural way to improve your eyesight and avoid developing AMD. There are also several food sources that are known to promote good eye health including citrus fruits, vegetable oils, nuts, whole grains, dark leafy vegetables and cold water fish.
Omega-3 fatty acids have also received a significant amount of attention for their ability to improve vision and decrease the risk of developing AMD. You can get more omega-3 in your diet by eating fatty fish like salmon and mackerel or by taking a high quality supplement.