A new study suggests that one’s diet is a significant factor in the development of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD). Researchers from the European Union studied the correlation between genetics and lifestyle. They determined that those who followed a Mediterranean diet reduced their risk of late-stage AMD by 41 percent.
A Mediterranean diet is rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, unrefined grains, olive oil, and fish. There is minimal to no meat consumption. Previous studies found this diet to elongate one’s lifespan and reduce the rate of heart diseases and cognitive impairments.
About 5,000 people participated in two studies – the Rotterdam Study and the Alienor Study. Participants (55 and older) in the Rotterdam Study completed food questionnaires every five years for twenty-one years and were evaluated for their disease risk. Participants in the Alienor Study (73 and older) were seen every 2 years for a 4-year period and were evaluated for an association between eye disease and diet.
Overall, those who closely followed the Mediterranean diet were 41% less likely to develop AMD compared to those who did not follow it. The conclusion was that it was the overall nutrient-rich diet that reduced the risk of AMD, rather than individual food items within the diet. Simply eating some fish or some vegetables would not cut the risk of AMD significantly.
You Are What You Eat
Dr. Emily Chew, MD states, “You are what you eat. I believe this is a public health issue on the same scale as smoking. Chronic diseases such as AMD, dementia, obesity, and diabetes all have roots in poor dietary habits. It’s time to take quitting a poor diet as seriously as quitting smoking.”