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Macular degeneration risk is cut with a Mediterranean diet

Harold Mandel's picture

According to a new study people who closely adhere to the Mediterranean diet, particularly by eating fruit, may be significantly less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration.


Macular degeneration is a devastating illness which often leads to blindness. The finding that dietary factors can dramatically decrease the risk of this condition is encouraging.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology has reported the risk of age-related macular degeneration may be decreased significantly by eating a Mediterranean diet which is rich in fruit. This study has also shown that caffeine could be protective against this disease.

People who adhere closely to the Mediterranean diet may be less likely to get age-related macular degeneration

According to new research people who adhere closely to the Mediterranean diet may actually be a third less likely to get age-related macular degeneration. This is particularly true when the diet is loaded with fruit. In view of the fact that age-related macular degeneration is a leading cause of blindness this is an important finding.

A Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains, healthy fats and fish. Red meat and butter is limited with this diet. There have been many studies which have confirmed the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet.

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Heart health is improved with the Mediterranean diet. Research has also shown a decreased risk of cancer with this diet. There has not been much research dealing with an association between the Mediterranean diet and health of the eyes. This study was done on a Portuguese population to determine if adherence to the diet had an impact on people’s risk of getting macular degeneration.

Eating more fruit with the Mediterranean diet has positive effects

It was observed there was a significant decrease in risk in those who consumed a Mediterranean diet most often. This positive effect was most dramatic in people who consumed more fruit. Aside from fruit caffeine and antioxidants were also found to be protective. Although caffeine is not actually considered to be part of the Mediterranean diet, drinking caffeine-containing beverages such as coffee and tea is very common in Mediterranean countries.

The National Eye Institute reports age-related macular degeneration is a common eye condition which is a leading cause of blindness among people 50 years old and older. This disease causes damage to the macula, which is a small spot located near the center of the retina. The macula is needed for sharp, central vision, which allows us to see objects which are straight ahead.

Macular degeneration may interfere with simple everyday activities

Sometimes this disorder progresses very slowly and vision loss doesn't occur for a long time. In other people this disease progresses much faster and may lead to blindness in one or both eyes. A blurred area noticed near the center of vision is commonly seen with this disorder. This blurred area may grow larger and larger over time. This illness may interfere with simple everyday activities, such as the capacity to read, write, see faces, drive, or do close work.

The finding in this study that a healthy, fruit-rich diet may protect you from macular degeneration is clearly very important. This leaves us with a consideration that effective preventive dietary approaches may be suggested for this condition. So why not try to adhere to a Mediterranean diet with extra fruit and some caffeine. This certainly offers a tasty way towards better health.