Age Related Macular Degeneration: How Your Diet Plays a Role

Wednesday, 16 Mar 2011 04:00 PM

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Age related macular degeneration is characterized by the thickening of the retina or inflammation of the veins behind the retina. This leads to vision loss in the center of the visual field. People see a darkened area in the center of the image due to vision loss. A macular degeneration diet plays an important role in preventing and controlling this condition. A diet rich in colored vegetables and fruits is considered the best diet for macular degeneration.
 
Colored vegetables like tomato, beans, capsicum, cucumber, broccoli, red cabbage, carrot, beet, Brussels sprouts, and asparagus contain an important ingredient called lutein. Lutein is a carotenoid that gives fruits and vegetables their characteristic color. It is an antioxidant that has proven to prevent macular degeneration. It is also present in green leafy vegetables too. The greener the vegetable, the greater the quantity of lutein.
 
Another important carotenoid is zeaxanthin. This is also found in fruits and vegetables along with lutein. The other sources of lutein and zeaxanthin are; orange, apple, plantain, watemelon, nectarine, mangoes, lettuce, spinach, dill, parsley and all types of cabbage. These are the food types that a macular degeneration diet must have. These foods are found to help improve eye health even in those who do not have macular degeneration. These carotenoids help to reduce free radicals.
 
Free radicals are formed during metabolism. These can cause oxidation of healthy cells and damage the cells. Carotenoids prevent this oxidation by fighting the free radicals and thus form a major portion of a healthy diet for macular degeneration.
 
Fatty acids help prevent cholesterol or plaque buildup. This ensures smooth blood flow in the eyes and results in the improvement of eyesight. Omega-3 rich food sources are nuts, certain types of fish, and flax seeds. A macular degeneration diet rich in omega-3 fatty acid sources has proven to reduce the degeneration by 35% as per the University of Sydney studies.
 
Low Glycemic foods are foods low in carbohydrates. These foods are best for a macular degeneration diet. This is because carbohydrates release sugar immediately and lead to high blood sugar levels. This causes several problems like inflammation of the blood vessels, reduces cardio vascular efficiency, and causes blurred vision. A high protein diet for macular degeneration is an alternate option. A high protein diet takes a longer time to breakdown and releases sugar slowly and steadily. This ensures smooth functioning of the eye.
 
A well balanced diet comprising plenty of colored fruits and vegetables, which are high in protein and fiber, but low in carbohydrates is the best diet for those suffering from macular degeneration.

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