Eating a Mediterranean Diet May Keep AMD at Bay
Eating a Mediterranean-inspired diet, with more plant-based foods and less dairy, may reduce your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to a newly-released study. This is one of the first studies to look at the protective role of foods rather than dietary supplements in preventing vision loss from AMD.
The Coimbra Eye Study included 883 people over age 55 in Portugal. Researchers found a lower frequency of AMD among those who ate more vegetables, legumes (such as beans), fish, cereals, and especially fruits. In fact, people in the study who ate 150 grams (just over 5 ounces) of fruits per day were almost 15 percent less likely to have AMD.
Another finding that surprised the study authors: people who consumed more caffeine were less likely to have age-related macular degeneration.
Coimbra Eye Study researchers analyzed the specific nutrients within the foods in each person’s diet. In addition to the unexpected benefit of caffeine, their work revealed that dietary fibers seemed to offer protection from AMD. It also supported the beneficial role of beta-carotene and vitamins C and E in minimizing AMD risk.
“This research is a stepping stone towards effective AMD preventive medicine,” says Rufino Silva, MD, PhD, lead author of the Coimbra Eye Study. “We know that nutritional supplements play a role for some in lowering AMD risk. But this work can help shift focus toward the vision-saving benefits of changing our daily eating habits.”