An avocado a day will keep the eye doctor away!

Here in sunny San Diego, we're just a few miles from the "Avocado Capital of the World."

We put avocado on just about everything -- not just salads and sandwiches. There's also grilled avocado with a pinch of salt... cold avocado soup with mint and lime... and even frozen avocado ice pops.

But according to the latest science, avocado isn't just a trendy and delicious addition to your meals. It's also packed with essential vitamins, including the nutrients needed to protect your eyes from one of today's leading causes of vision loss.

Maybe all that avocado is the reason California has the one of the lowest rates of macular degeneration in the country, a full 15 percent below the national average.

New research shows how that might not be an avocado coincidence. It finds that eating avocados can boost your levels of vision-protecting nutrients and improve conditions inside the macula of your eye.

In the study, older volunteers were given either an avocado a day or a similar amount of potato or chickpeas. After six months, the folks given the avocado -- and ONLY the folks given the avocado -- saw a big-time boost in their macular pigment density levels.

That's exactly the part of the eye you need to keep healthy in order to prevent macular degeneration.

There's no drug that can boost those levels. But avocados can, and the key might be in an eye-protecting nutrient called lutein.

An avocado contains only a fraction of the lutein found in a typical vision supplement, but the fats inside the fruit (yes, it's a fruit!) help your body soak it up and use it better.

That means your body -- and your eye -- can more effectively use the lutein, even when there's less of it.

The proof is in the guacamole: While supplements contain up to 25 times the amount of lutein in an avocado, the folks in the new study who ate an avocado a day had greater improvements than what we see in folks who take supplements.

That said, there are a couple of downsides to avocado. Eating one every single day might be a bit much for many people, even here at the center of the avocado universe.

It can also get a little expensive.

If you're not ready to commit to a daily avocado, you can get the best of both worlds by eating avocado on some days and taking a vision support formula daily. Be sure to have a little healthy fat with your supplement, and your body should be able to soak up the lutein a little better so your eyes get more protection.