(Natural News) Nutritionists across the world highly recommend the Mediterranean diet, and research is finding more reasons to follow it. A team of scientists from the University of Bordeaux and Erasmus University Medical Center discovered that this type of diet reduces the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness in the U.S.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1.8 million Americans suffer from AMD. There are two major types of this condition, namely, the dry and wet AMD. The former results from the thinning of the macula, which stops it from working properly, or the formation of deposits on the retina that cause it to lose its function. On the other hand, wet or exudative AMD occurs due to the leakage of fluids from blood vessels under the retina. Out of these two types, only the latter can be treated. However, many eye experts have associated poor nutrition with the progression of AMD. This means that a healthy diet has potential in preventing AMD-associated vision loss.
The Mediterranean diet, which is primarily based on the eating habits of people in Italy and Greece, is rich in plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, legumes, unrefined grains, and olive oil. Additionally, it contains less meat and more fish. There are many benefits to following this type of diet. However, few studies look at how it affects AMD risk.
In this study, which was published in the journal Opthalmology, the researchers collated and analyzed food-frequency questionnaires from two prior investigations. The first study evaluated disease risk in people above 54 years old and conducted surveys every five years for 21 years. Meanwhile, the second study looked at the link between nutrition and eyes diseases in people aged 73 and above through a questionnaire given every two years for four years.
The results showed that people who closely followed the Mediterranean diet experienced a whopping 41 percent reduction in AMD risk. Furthermore, their analysis showed that individually, the components of the Mediterranean diet did not lower the risk of AMD. What was important for avoiding this condition was that the overall diet was rich in various nutrients.
From this study, the researchers concluded that the Mediterranean diet can significantly reduce AMD risk. This consequently lowers the likelihood of becoming blind as a person gets older. (Related: Fish, Nuts and Olive Oil Reduce Age-Related Blindness Risk (AMD).)
Other health benefits of the Mediterranean diet
Other reasons why you should start following the Mediterranean diet include the following:
- Protecting against diabetes — A study comparing different healthy eating plans revealed that the Mediterranean diet works best for people with high blood sugar levels. This is due to the high amounts of monounsaturated fats and fibers in fruits, vegetables, fish, and olive oil.
- Improving heart health — The Mediterranean diet improves cholesterol levels in the body so that they don’t accumulate in the arteries and cause cardiovascular problems like atherosclerosis, heart attack, irregular heartbeat, and heart failure.
- Reducing Alzheimer’s risk — Improved cholesterol and blood sugar levels due to the Mediterranean diet work together to improve the health of blood vessels. This leads to a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia. Additionally, the Mediterranean diet prevents age-related cognitive decline.
- Fighting cancer — People who follow the Mediterranean diet are less likely to develop cancer and to die from it. The protective role of this diet is especially effective against postmenopausal breast cancer.
For more articles on the health benefits of different types of diet, visit Nutrients.news.