• Mediterranean Diet: Healthy Eating for Healthier Eyes

    Written By: Kierstan Boyd
    Reviewed By: G Atma Vemulakonda, MD
    Sep. 27, 2018

    These heart-healthy foods may lower your risk for advanced age-related macular degeneration

    Eating the nutritious vegetables, fruits and fish of a Mediterranean-inspired diet can reduce your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or having it become more advanced.

    A European study and a Portuguese study both show that a diet rich in plant-based foods and fish, with less dairy and red meat, may reduce your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), or prevent it from becoming worse.

    The Mediterranean diet generally includes: A dinner plate with salmon, salad and avocado

    • vegetables (especially leafy, green ones like spinach);
    • fruits;
    • nuts (like almonds, cashews, pistachios and walnuts);
    • whole grains (such as complete grains of wheat, rice, oats, barley, rye, quinoa);
    • fish (such as fresh or water-packed salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel or herring); and
    • olive or canola oil instead of butter.

    Researchers found lower rates of macular degeneration among people who ate more vegetables, legumes (beans), fish, cereals, and especially fruits. In fact, one study showed that people who ate at least 150 grams (just over 5 ounces) of fruits per day lowered their risk of developing AMD by 15 percent.

    Conversely, people who had AMD, more frequently ate fast food, ready-made meals, dairy products and meat than those who did not have macular degeneration.

    Other past research has shown that certain vitamin and mineral supplements play a role for some people in lowering their AMD risk. The studies examining specific diets help show that foods may also be protective in preventing vision loss from macular degeneration and highlight the possible vision-saving benefits of healthy daily eating habits.