Could Seafood Reduce Your Risk of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)?
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in adults over 55. It impacts more than 10 million Americans, plus many others worldwide. Macular degeneration occurs when the macula, or central portion, of the retina starts to deteriorate. The retina acts as film for the eyes by capturing images and light. It is essential for sight, especially light and colors. Macular degeneration can be caused by many factors, but one of the most common is age. This condition is referred to as age related macular degeneration or AMD. Macular degeneration is a serious problem and finding ways to reduce your risk is very important if you want to protect your eyesight.
Watch What You Eat
What you put into your body can impact your risk for macular degeneration. Eating diets that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to lessen the risk of getting age related macular degeneration.
Omega 3 fatty acids are important compounds found commonly in fish and other shellfish. They are in high concentrations in cold water fish like sardines, herring, mackerel and salmon. Omega 3s are also found in a variety of different types of shellfish.
The Study in the Journal of Ophthalmology
A recent 12 month study published in the journal of Ophthalmology shows that seniors with diets high in omega-3 fatty acids were less likely to suffer from macular degeneration. This study shows that what you eat can really impact the health of your body and more specifically your eyes.
Participants for the study were all located in Marylandís Eastern Shore. There were 2,391 participants. All were seniors that were at least 65 years old and less than 84 years old. The information was gathered over the course of a year through the completion of a questionnaire which was validated.
This studyís purpose was to evaluate fish consumption and its relationship to macular degeneration. All of the participants were evaluated for AMD. The evaluations were used to categorize the participants into 4 groups: 1,942 participants were part of a control group that had no signs of AMD, 227 participants had early AMD, 153 participants had intermediate AMD and 68 participants were suffering from late stage AMD. Late stage AMD was classified as having bleeding in the eye and abnormal blood vessel growth or atrophy in the retina.
The study found that on average all participants in the study consumed at least one serving of fish or shellfish per week. However, those with severe AMD rarely consumed fish that was high in omega-3s. In fact those with severe AMD were much less likely to consume foods high in omega-3.
This study shows that eating foods high in omega-3 is very important to help prevent AMD. Of course, if you want to protect your eyes and your vision, eating fish might not be enough. Here are a few other ways to protect your eyes from age related macular degeneration.
Eat Fruits and Vegetables- Fruits and vegetables are filled with health components which can help the body to protect itself from various diseases. Spinach, kale, pumpkin, squash and carrots are all good sources of carotenoids, which help the eyes and can reduce the risk of macular degeneration.
Wear Sunglasses- The sunís radiation can really hurt your eyes. Invest in a pair of sunglasses with 100% UV protection. This will protect your eyes from various problems including AMD.
Eat Less Red Meat- Red meat has been shown to increase the risk of AMD. In fact one study showed that participants that ate red meat more than 10 times per week were more than 47% to suffer from AMD.
Watch Your Cholesterol- When you have high cholesterol it can clog blood vessels and keep blood from going where it needs to go. If your macula isnít getting enough blood it can cause AMD. Make sure that you keep your cholesterol levels in check through regular monitoring and a healthy diet.
Stop Smoking- Smoking is one of the biggest risk factors for macular degeneration. If you currently smoke, consider stopping. If you donít smoke already, donít start. Your eyes and your health will thank you.
Age related macular degeneration can cause blindness. If you want to keep your eyesight make sure that you follow these precautions and that you remember to eat plenty of foods high in omega-3 fatty acids.
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