The Mediterranean diet may do more than just boost cardiovascular health and lower HDL cholesterol levels. New research suggests that a Mediterranean diet that is high in fruit may reduce your risk for developing age-related macular degeneration by one-third.
What is the Mediterranean diet?
The Mediterranean diet is centered on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, fish, and healthy fats, and limits red meat and butter. This combination of foods has been associated with improved heart function and reduced risk of cancer. Although the diet originated in the Mediterranean region, it has been gaining popularity over the years with doctors, researchers, and individuals who are committed to healthy living.
How the Mediterranean diet affects age-related macular degeneration
To learn more about how a Mediterranean diet affects eye disease, researchers at the University of Coimbra in Portugal studied 883 people age 55 or older in the central region of Portugal between 2013 and 2015. Of those studied, 449 had early stage AMD before vision loss and 434 did not have AMD. The research team assessed their diets using a questionnaire and scored each individual based on how closely his or her diet aligned with a Mediterranean diet.
Of the participants who did not closely follow the Mediterranean diet, 50 percent had AMD. Of those who did closely follow the diet, only 39 percent had AMD. This means that following a Mediterranean diet may reduce the risk of AMD by 35 percent compared to not following a Mediterranean diet.
The importance of fruit
The research team discovered that participants who consumed higher levels of fruit were less likely to have AMD. Of the participants who consumed 150 grams or more of fruit per day, 54.5 percent did not have AMD and 45.5 percent had AMD. Individuals who ate 150 grams or more of fruit were almost 15 percent less likely to have AMD (Source: Science Daily).
Check out the Your Sight Matters Blog to learn more about the Mediterranean diet and how you can choose foods that will nourish your eyesight. There are a few recipes below to get you started.