A recent study has found that a nutrient found in some foods can help prevent an eye disease that mainly affects older people.
The eye disease is called age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and it is the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 60.
The study looked at the effect of a nutrient called nitrate on the progression of AMD. Nitrate is found in some vegetables like spinach, lettuce, and beetroot.
The researchers found that people who consumed more nitrate had a lower risk of developing advanced AMD.
The study involved more than 7,000 participants over the age of 50 who were part of the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) and AREDS2 randomized clinical trial cohorts.
The researchers analyzed the participants’ dietary intake of nitrate and then monitored the progression of their AMD over time.
The study found that participants who consumed the most nitrate had a lower risk of developing advanced AMD, including geographic atrophy and neovascular AMD.
The researchers also found that following a Mediterranean diet, which is high in vegetables, was associated with higher nitrate intake and a lower risk of advanced AMD.
While the study shows a potential link between nitrate intake and a lower risk of AMD progression, it’s important to note that this is just one study.
More research is needed to confirm these findings and to understand the mechanisms behind the association.
However, the study’s results do suggest that eating a diet rich in nitrate-containing vegetables, such as spinach and beetroot, could be beneficial for maintaining healthy eyesight as we age.
How to prevent AMD
There are several steps people can take to help prevent or slow down the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD):
Eat a healthy diet: Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and fish, particularly those high in omega-3 fatty acids, can help prevent AMD.
These foods contain nutrients such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamins C and E, which have been shown to protect the eyes from AMD.
Exercise regularly: Regular exercises, such as walking or swimming, can help maintain a healthy weight, which is important for reducing the risk of AMD.
Quit smoking: Smoking is a major risk factor for AMD, and quitting smoking can help reduce the risk of developing the disease or slow down its progression.
Protect your eyes from the sun: Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun can damage the eyes and increase the risk of AMD. Wearing sunglasses with UV protection and a hat can help protect the eyes from the sun’s harmful rays.
Get regular eye exams: Regular eye exams can help detect AMD early and allow for early intervention and treatment. People over the age of 50, or those with a family history of AMD, should have regular eye exams.
Manage other health conditions: People with other health conditions such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol should work with their healthcare provider to manage these conditions, as they can increase the risk of AMD.
By taking these steps, people can help reduce their risk of developing AMD or slow down its progression, helping to maintain good vision and eye health as they age.
If you care about eye health, please read studies that diabetes and high blood pressure can predict blinding eye disease, and 7 habits that help prevent vision loss in older people.
For more information about COVID, please see recent studies about common eye diseases and conditions in older people, and results showing drug that benefits older people with blinding eye disease.
The study was published in the medical journal JAMA Ophthalmology.
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