Mediterranean Diet and Caffeine May Prevent Macular Degeneration
It is the right fuel that keeps a vehicle going and it is this same approach that can apply to your body. Eating fresh, unprocessed foods has been proven numerous times, by reputable studies, to enhance optimal health. Yet, it seems that the powers to be are making that harder everyday.
Rather than eat whole, organic produce, Big Food Corp. creates its version of ways to give you what you think is healthy when all you are doing is eating ‘faux healthy’ processed foods instead.
It’s not that hard to reassess your food choices and a new study confirms that by doing so you may be able to not only benefit your current health but you may be able to prevent future vision challenges too, particularly age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
The Mediterranean Diet
Taken from the centuries old cultural dish recipes found in Greece, Italy, Spain and surrounding regions, the Mediterranean diet has become a kind of American trend as of late. Now, books have been written on the subject, classes taught and television shows embrace the consumption of a majority of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, healthy fats and fish.
Many studies have confirmed how these choices significantly improve heart health while lowering cancer risks.
Reported in The New England Journal of Medicine (2013),
“We observed that an energy-unrestricted Mediterranean diet, supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts, resulted in a substantial reduction in the risk of major cardiovascular events among high-risk persons. The results support the benefits of the Mediterranean diet for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.”
Researchers from the Department of Clinical Sciences, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain published their findings in Nutritional Cancer stating that,
“…the existing evidence from observational studies collectively suggests that there is a “probable” protective role of the Mediterranean diet toward cancer in general…”
Consuming plant based farm to table foods is the way it was meant to be before the Industrial Revolution when technology gave us more conveniences but less time to enjoy them. As a result many humans, especially those in the western hemisphere, have been living on a boxed, canned, packaged food diet ever since.
After so many studies have been published regarding the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet, none have researched the effects on the eyes, until now.
Recently one study has emerged showing significant results when consuming the Mediterranean Diet along with moderate amounts of caffeine that could result in “more than a third less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness” (AAO)
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), the study conducted by researchers at the University of Coimbra in Portugal looked at the results of 883 participants, 55 or older, between the years of 2013 and 2015. I was found that:
Higher diet adherence scores meant lower AMD risk. Of those who did not closely follow the diet, 50 percent had AMD. Of those who did closely follow the diet (scored 6 or above), only 39 percent had AMD. This represents a 35 percent lower risk compared to those who did not adhere to the diet.
Fruits were especially beneficial. Researchers analyzed consumption of foods and found that people who consumed higher levels of fruit were significantly less likely to have AMD. Of those who consumed 150 grams (about five ounces) or more of fruit a day: 54.5 percent did not have AMD and 45.5 percent had AMD. Overall, people who ate that much fruit or more each day were almost 15 percent less likely to have AMD, based on an odds ratio calc
Caffeine and antioxidants also were protective.
Researchers used a computer program to analyze the participants’ consumption of micronutrients. They found higher consumption of antioxidants such as caffeine, beta-carotene and vitamins C and E was protective against AMD. Of those who consumed high levels of caffeine (about 78 mg a day, or the equivalent of one shot of espresso): 54.4 percent did not have AMD and 45.1 percent had AMD.
If you are over 50 and want to avoid struggling with the dangers of age-related macular degeneration then eating a diet rich in Mediterranean choices could be your best defense. Add in one or two small black coffee’s per day and the results just may be a welcome accumulation that keeps you protected daily.