Five Dietary Changes to Stave off Age-Related Macular Degeneration

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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


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.


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.


Zinc

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


Antioxidants

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.


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.


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.


Lutein/Zeaxanthin

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.