Diet for Macular Degeneration

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The macula is the back of the eye on the retina that focuses on the central vision of the eye. According to the University of Maryland Medical Clinic, macular degeneration affects more than 10 million
Americans. It is the leading cause of vision loss in people over 60. A healthy diet could be a major factor in preventing macular degeneration and slowing its progression.

Types of Macular Degeneration

  • Wet macular degeneration affects about 10 percent of those who contract macular degeneration, and it is the most serious. The other 90 percent have dry macular degeneration (ARMD), according to the Eye Digest. Some of the known causes are smoking, heredity, and heart disease.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

  • According to the American Optometric Association, lutein and zeaxanthin, which are carotenoids, are the most powerful nutrients in treating ARMD. Carotenoids are types of yellow and red pigment found mostly in fruits and vegetables. They are both instrumental in preventing and treating both forms of macular degeneration. Doses of lutein of 10 mg per day and zeaxanthin of 2 mg per day are recommended on the American Optometric Association website.

Fruits , Vegetables and Fish

  • The richest sources of of lutein and zeaxanthin are leafy greens such as romaine, kale, spinach and swiss chard. Sweet potatoes, tomatoes, corn, okra and peppers also are high in these nutrients. The American Macular Degeneration Foundation recommends eating vegetables raw or lightly steamed. Eating fish several times a week will lessen your chances of getting ARMD, according to The Eye Digest website.

Carbohydrates

  • The most beneficial carbs for eye health are products made with corn. Corn chips, tortilla chips and corn bread are delicious and rich in lutein and zeaxanthin. Eat lots of popcorn as a snack; it is low-calorie and rich in lutein and zeaxanthin. Look for pastas made from corn, spinach, and also egg yolks, which contain a lot of lutein and zeaxanthin.

Foods to Avoid

  • According to the Eye Digest, high fat intake is associated with an increased risk of macular degeneration. Both saturated and unsaturated fats can create a higher risk. Consuming beef, pork or lamb more than once per week will increase your chances of getting ARMD by 35%, according to the Eye Digest website. Avoid processed foods, sugar and white flour.

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