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Lutein, Zeaxanthin May Reduce Blindness Among Elders
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Two nutrients, lutein and zeaxanthin, found in eggs, spinach and other leafy green vegetables offer some protection against the most common cause of blindness among the elderly, media reported Thursday.

A 6-year study in U.S. asked about the dietary habits of 4,519 people aged 60 to 80 when enrolled.

Those in the top fifth of dietary consumption of foods containing the two nutrients had 35 percent less chance of developing the condition compared to those in the lowest fifth of consumption.

"Lutein and zeaxanthin may be considered as useful agents in food or supplement-based interventions designed to reduce the risk of AMD," said the researchers.

Lutein and zeaxanthin help ward off the condition, apparently by allowing the eyes to filter harmful short-wavelength light and by curtailing other damaging effects to the macula, or the center of the eye's retina.

"No clear associations with other nutrients were seen," including the vitamins C and E and beta-carotene, according to the researchers, led by John Paul SanGiovanni of the National Eye Institute, one of the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, U.S.

Foods considered good sources of the nutrients include eggs, spinach, kale, turnip greens, collard greens, romaine lettuce, broccoli, zucchini, corn, garden peas and Brussels sprouts.

(Agencies via September 14, 2007)

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