Orange capsicums help eye health

Orange capsicum growing under protected cropping. Photos Adobe Stock Photos

Capsicums aren’t necessarily the easiest of vegies to grow in our gardens but it seems there’s a really good reason to try to grow capsicums at home. And it’s not just any capsicum; it’s the vibrant orange ones that have the goods.

While orange capsicums may seem a bit of a novelty, researchers at the University of Queensland have discovered that they are dense in an important and beneficial nutrient. The nutrient is zeaxanthin, which can help shield eyes from macula degeneration that leads to ‘central’ blindness. One in seven people aged over 50 have signs of macular degeneration.

Zeaxanthin along with lutein are carotenoid pigments. They make orange food orange but also help form protective macular pigments. While this nutrient is available as a tablet, a single orange capsicum (around 300g in weight) was found to contain zeaxanthin levels that were greater than 30 supplement tablets.

Orange capsicums aren’t the only vegies containing zeaxanthin – it is also in kale, spinach and broccoli. Unfortunately these vegetables aren’t as popular, appealing or trendy as orange capsicums but put them in the vegie garden and on the menu if you want to care for your eye health. The researchers are hoping that their work on nutrient dense plants for health will encourage more growers to produce orange capsicums and see great availability despite the cost of seed.

More information

To find out more about this new research see these links:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-01-12/orange-capsicums-help-prevent-blindness-but-not-widely-available/13049208

https://qaafi.uq.edu.au/article/2020/06/orange-capsicums-menu-long-term-eye-health

 

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