Five Dietary Changes to Stave off Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Sara Suchy | Sep 27th 2012

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What is Age-related macular degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease associated with aging that gradually destroys sharp, central vision.  Central vision is needed for seeing objects clearly and for common daily tasks such as reading and driving.

Symptoms include:

  • Blurred Vision
  • Small, but growing, blind spot in vision
  • Straight lines appearing crooked
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Prevalence of AMD and risk factors

According to the National Eye Institute, AMD may occur during middle age, but studies show that people over age 60 are at a greater risk.  Specifically, middle-aged adults have about a 2 percent risk of developing AMD while nearly 30 percent of people over age 75 have AMD. Risk factors for AMD include smoking, obesity and family history.

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Diet changes

Luckily, high levels of specific vitamins and minerals can decrease the risk of developing AMD and many other age-related illnesses. These vitamins and minerals include zinc, antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids, beta carotin and lutein.

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Zinc is an essential mineral that is naturally present in foods such as oysters, beef, crab, pork, chicken, milk and beans.

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Antioxidants play a vital role in preventing diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and macular degeneration.  They are found naturally in these foods:  Berries, beans, artichokes, spinach, red cabbage, sweet potatoe, green tea, broccoli and red wine.

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Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids can help the cardiovascular system, particularly with people with coronary artery diseases.  They are found naturally in these foods: fatty fish (salmon, tuna), soybean oil, canola oil, flaxseed oil, walnuts, brussel sprouts, kale and spinach.

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Beta carotene

Beta carotene play an important role in healthy vision, bone growth and immune system health.  They are found in carrots, spinach, kale, cantaloupe, mango, apricots and red peppers.

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Lutein/Zeaxanthin is an essential nutrient that can help stave off macular degeneration and other age-related diseases.  It is found naturally in egg yolks, kiwi fruit, grapes, spinach, orange juice and zucchini.