A Mediterranean diet might significantly reduce risks of a major cause of blindness or age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a new study has suggested.
A Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating less meat and more fish, vegetables, fruits, legumes, unrefined grains, and olive oil. Mediterranean diet favors vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, olive oil and fish over meat.
Poor diet is emerging as an important factor in the development of a degenerative eye disease called age-related macular degeneration.
A large collaboration of researchers from the European Union investigating the connection between genes and lifestyle on the development of AMD has found that people who adhered to a Mediterranean diet cut their risk of late-stage AMD by 41 percent.
The findings were published online in Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Previous research has linked it to a longer lifespan and a reduced incidence of heart disease and cognitive decline. But only a few studies have evaluated its impact on AMD.
“You are what you eat,” said Dr Emily Chew, spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology and an adviser to the research group that conducted the study.
For the study, the researchers analyzed data from nearly 5,000 people, aged 55 and older, in the Netherlands. Those who closely followed a Mediterranean diet were 41 percent less likely to develop late-stage AMD than those who did not follow the diet.
The study found that, on their own, none of those individual components reduced the risk of late-stage AMD. Rather, it was the overall diet that significantly reduced the risk.
“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,” Chew said in an academy news release.
However, the study cannot prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship.