Mediterranean diet cuts macular degeneration risk
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a degenerative eye disease that’s the leading cause of severe vision impairment in Australians aged over 40. It is also the leading cause of blindness in the United States. There are two types of AMD — wet and dry. In dry AMD, small white or yellowish deposits form on the retina, causing it to deteriorate over time. In wet AMD, blood vessels grow under the retina and leak. There is an effective treatment available for the wet type but no treatment is available for the dry type of AMD.
Those who closely followed a Mediterranean diet were 41 per cent less likely to develop AMD than those who did not follow the diet.
Evidence suggests that poor diet plays an important role in the development of AMD. To investigate this, researchers from the European Union investigated the association between the Mediterranean diet with incidence of advanced age-related macular degeneration in two European population-based studies. These were the Rotterdam Study, which evaluated disease risk in people aged 55 and older and the Alienor Study, which assessed the association between eye diseases and nutritional factors in people aged 73 and older.
For this study, the researchers analysed food-frequency questionnaires from 4446 participants. Patients in the Rotterdam study were examined every five years over a 21-year period, while patients in the Alienor Study were examined every two years over a four-year period. Complete ophthalmologic and dietary data were also included in the present study. The researchers evaluated adherence to a Mediterranean diet using a nine-component score based on intake of vegetables, fruits, legumes, cereals, fish, meat, dairy products, alcohol and the monounsaturated-to-saturated fatty acids ratio.
The researchers found that those who closely followed a Mediterranean diet were 41 per cent less likely to develop AMD than those who did not follow the diet. The individual components on a Mediterranean diet did not make a difference in lowering the risk of AMD on their own. Rather it was the entire pattern of consuming a nutrition-rich diet that significantly reduced the risk of AMD.
This is another study that gives evidence on the role of diet and the impact it has on your health. Poor dietary habits lie at the root of many chronic diseases such as AMD, dementia, obesity and diabetes so it is vital to adopt beneficial dietary habits to nurture your health and wellbeing.
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