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What’s On Your Plate May Help Save Your Sight

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NEW YORK, Jan 10 /PRNewswire/ — When thinking about new year's resolutions and getting back into shape, don't forget about your eyesight.

According to the National Eye Institute, more than 22 million Americans suffer from cataracts and the irreversible affects of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of acquired blindness in the United States. Currently there is no permanent effective treatment or cure for the condition, but there's plenty you can do to preserve your vision. Leading eye experts say preserving your vision begins with what's on your plate:

1. Load up on Lutein — and Zeaxanthin-rich Foods A high dietary intake of two carotenoids — lutein and zeaxanthin — present in egg and dark green leafy vegetables significantly lowers the risk of age-related macular degeneration (i). In fact, lutein in eggs is 200-300 percent more bioavailable than vegetable sources of lutein. Lutein and zeaxanthin provide the yellow pigment found in these foods and helps protect against AMD by blocking harmful blue light from reaching and damaging the cells in the eyes.

2. Take Your Vitamins A National Eye Institute study found that those with AMD who took a supplement containing vitamin C, vitamin E, Beta carotene and zinc reduced their risk of developing advanced AMD by about 25 percent and the associated vision loss by 19 percent(ii).

3. Pack in Produce Fruits and vegetables are filled with beneficial phytonutrients that help prevent oxidation. They also help you achieve a healthy weight because they fill you up on few calories. The National Cancer Institute recommends adults eat five to nine servings a day. A serving counts as one medium piece of fruit; one cup leafy greens, a half-cup cooked or canned fruits or vegetables; or 6 ounces fruit or vegetable juice.

4. Maintain Ideal Weight and Watch Your Waist New research finds that being overweight or obese doubled the risk of developing advanced AMD among individuals with early signs of the disease (iii). What's more, fat concentrated in your middle was also found to double subjects' odds of developing advanced AMD. According to the National Institutes of Health, if your waist measures more than 35 inches for a women or 40 inches for a man, you are at increased risk for chronic diseases, including those that affect your vision.

5. Get a Move on Individuals with AMD who exercised three times per week were 25 percent less likely to get AMD compared with couch potatoes (iv). A study released today by the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Shiley Eye Center study and published in the January 2005 Archives of Ophthalmology, supports the idea that macular degeneration patients benefit from self-management training including controlling your diet.

References:
(i) Ribaya-Mercado, J, Blumberg, J, Lutein and zeaxanthin and their potential roles in disease prevention: JACN. 2004; 23 (6): 567-587.
(ii) Mares-Perlman, JA, Klein, R., A randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial of high-dose supplementation with vitamins C and E, Beta Carotene, and Zinc for age-related macular degeneration and vision loss: AREDS Report No. 8 Arch Opthalmol. 2001; 119:1417-1436.
(iii) Seddon, JM, Cote J et al. Progression of age-related macular degeneration. Arch Ophthalmol. 2003;121:785-792.
(iv) Mares-Perlman, JA, Klein, R., A randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial of high-dose supplementation with vitamins C and E, Beta Carotene, and Zinc for age-related macular degeneration and vision loss: AREDS Report No. 8 Arch Opthalmol. 2001; 119:1417-1436. Source: Egg Nutrition Center

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