The risk of late-stage, age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness worldwide, can be lowered by 41 percent by eating a Mediterranean diet according to a new study presented by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). The research, which followed nearly 4,500 French and Dutch adults aged 55 and older for 21 years, found that no single food component lowered the risk; rather, it was the nutrient-rich diet itself.
The findings correlate with previous research that links the Mediterranean diet, typically rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, fish and olive oil, to a longer lifespan and a lower risk of heart disease and cognitive decline. “You are what you eat,” says AAO spokesperson Emily Chew, M.D. “It’s time to take quitting a poor diet as seriously as quitting smoking.”