Does adherence to the Mediterranean diet reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration? Portuguese researchers attempted to determine the AMD-preventative nature of the popular regional diet, which is commonly associated with fish, fruit, grains, and the occasional splash of wine.
Does adherence to the Mediterranean diet reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD)? Portuguese researchers attempted to determine the AMD-preventative nature of the popular regional diet, which is commonly associated with above-average consumption of fish, fruit, grains, and the occasional splash of wine, with minimized intake of unhealthy fats. Their results were presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology 2016 Meeting.
The work is an extension of the ongoing Coimbra Eye Study. The researchers compared two demographically and physiologically similar sets of patients, one containing those who had been diagnosed with early AMD and the other comprised of those who displayed no evidence of the condition. 883 people were included in the study, from a rural cohort of Coimbra.
Though there was no significantly glaring correlation across the board, a few factors seemed to have a strong association with aversion to AMD. Using Food Processor Plus, software that breaks down specific foods into their nutritional elements, increased intake of vitamins C and E, seemed related to a lower prevalence of early-stage AMD. Indeed, more fruit consumption in the non-AMD group was the most noticeable dietary difference in the comparison. João Figueira, one of the authors on the study, says the fruit of choice was, primarily, apples. Based on an odds-ration calculation, those who ate 150g or more of fruit per day were 15% less likely to have AMD.
Interestingly, caffeine was also correlated with lessened rates of AMD. No relation, however, was found for alcohol, omega-3 or omega-6, or monosaturated fats, though those among the study who adhered closest to the diet had a 39% chance at AMD, compared to 50% of those whose adherence was moderate or low. Coimbra is an ongoing study that seeks to find health factors associated with AMD across the Portuguese population.