Macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of vision loss associated with ageing. The macula is a part of the eye that is responsible for the sharp vision we need for fine details like reading. It is the deterioration of this part of the eye that leads to the wavy or blurry vision that is associated with macular degeneration. (1)
Although it is currently is regarded, as an incurable eye disease by the American Macular Degeneration Foundation, nutrition plays a pivotal role in preventing it. No specific dietary pattern has been found to be ideal in preventing destruction of the macula; rather an overall healthful diet that includes a wide array of nutrients has shown to be most effective in preventing macular degeneration. (2)
Zinc is a mineral that has been shown to slow the progression of macular degeneration. (3) Including these protein sources should ensure you get enough zinc in your diet: oysters, crab, pork, dark chicken, almonds, cashews, peanuts, milk and cheese.
A colorful diet rich with yellow, orange and green will ensure you are getting lutein and zeaxanthin which are plant based nutrients good for eye health. (4) Yellow/Orange: Corn, sweet potato, orange peppers, carrot, butternut squash, pumpkin, cantaloupe, and mango! Green: kiwi, green grapes, broccoli, kale, spinach, chard, Brussels sprout and mustard greens!
Increasing the foods that contain zinc, lutein and zeaxanthin in in your diet can benefit your eyes and also help with other health goals, as they are nutrient dense, full of fiber and naturally delicious.
- What is Macular Degeneration? – AMDF. (n.d.). Retrieved June 14, 2017, from https://www.macular.org/what-macular-degeneration
- Chiu, C., Chang, M., Li, T., Gensler, G., & Taylor, A. (2017, March). Visualization of Dietary Patterns and Their Associations With Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Retrieved June 14, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5361454/
- Smailhodzic, D., van Asten, F., Blom, A. M., Mohlin, F. C., den Hollander, A. I., van de Ven, J. P. H., … Klevering, B. J. (2014). Zinc Supplementation Inhibits Complement Activation in Age-Related Macular Degeneration. PLoS ONE, 9(11), e112682. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0112682
- Sommerburg, O., Keunen, J., Bird, A., & van Kuijk, F. J. G. M. (1998). Fruits and vegetables that are sources for lutein and zeaxanthin: the macular pigment in human eyes. The British Journal of Ophthalmology, 82(8), 907–910.