Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Eating fruit may stave off macular degeneration

Coffee may also be a plus when it comes to avoiding this potentially blinding condition that affects the macula--or center of the retina.

Many studies, of course, have confirmed the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet--fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, nuts, healthy fats and fish--with red meat and butter as side dishes at most. Olive oil is featured.

This diet has been shown pretty convincingly to improve heart health and reduce the risk of cancer.

Researchers at the University of Coimbra in Portugal  studied 883 people 55 and older in the central region of the country (2013-15). Of that number, 449 had age-related macular degeneration in its early stages (before vision loss). Four-hundred thirty-four did not have it.

The researchers assessed their diets. The more foods they are from the Med Diet, the higher the score from 0-9.

Below six--50% had AMD. Of those who .did eat the Med Diet foods a lot of the time--only 39% had AMD.

This represents a 35% lower risk.

Fruits were especially beneficial.

Also protective were caffeine and antioxidants such as beta carotene, vitamins C&E, were also measurably beneficial.

Caffeine is not part of the Med Diet but is a powerful antioxidant.

The research was sponsored by Novartis, I should note.

Still, could it hurt to eat more fruit?

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