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Mediterranean diet, caffeine, fruit may help lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration

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Reprinted with the kind permission of Life Extension.

October 19 2016. Research presented on October 16, 2016 at the 120th annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology has associated a Mediterranean diet, fruit and caffeine as with a lower risk of age-related macular degeneration(AMD).

The current study included 883 subjects aged 55 or older residing in central Portugal between 2013 and 2015, among whom 449 individuals had early stage macular degeneration. Dietary questionnaire responses were scored on adherence to a Mediterranean diet, which is high in vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, whole grains, healthy fats and fish, and relatively low in red meat and butter.

Among subjects whose scores indicated greater adherence to the diet, there was a 35% lower risk of having AMD compared to those who lacked close adherence.When fruit intake was examined, those who consumed five ounces or more daily had a 15% lower AMD risk than those who consumed less. Higher intake of antioxidants that included vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and caffeine was also associated with protection against AMD. Among subjects who consumed approximately 78 milligrams caffeine per day (the equivalent of a shot of espresso) 54.4% did not have AMD. The study is the first to identify that caffeine as protective against the disease.

“This research adds to the evidence that a healthy, fruit-rich diet is important to health, including helping to protect against macular degeneration,” stated lead author Rufino Silva, MD, PhD, who is a professor of ophthalmology at the University of Coimbra, Portugal; ophthalmologist working at the Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra; and investigator at the Association for Innovation and Biomedical Research on Light and Image. “We also think this work is a stepping stone towards effective preventive medicine in AMD.”

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