A new study says that the spice saffron could hold the secret to preventing eye sight loss in old age. It is commonly used in Indian, Spanish and Italian cuisine.
Study's scientists, who are based at the University of L'Aquila, in Italy, and Sydney University, in Australia, have discovered that saffron can protect against some of the most common forms of blindness.
Through the study, researchers revealed that eating saffron on daily basis helped to make the delicate cells in the eye needed for vision more resilient against disease, reports The Telegraph.
Animal studies further confirmed that a diet containing saffron can protect the eye from damage caused by bright sunlight and slow the progress of genetic diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa.
The researchers also found saffron had a beneficial effect in humans suffering from age-related macular degeneration, the most common form of blindness in old age.
The scientists are now conducting a clinical trial on human patients with age-related macular degeneration.
Professor Silvia Bisti, who led the research from the University of L'Aquila, said: "Saffron seems to possess a number of properties that are protective to vision.
"We are now trying to understand the mechanism, but it appears to block cell death. Saffron components have strong antioxidant properties.
"It also appears to affect genes which regulate the fatty acid content of the cell membrane and this makes the vision cells tougher and more resilient."