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Eat for 20/20 vision
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A high intake of dietary antioxidants—present in normal foods—may delay the onset of early age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. AMD is a leading cause of blindness.

The Rotterdam Study, which tracked more than 5,800 healthy people over a period of ten years, found that high dietary intakes of vitamin E and zinc, in particular, protected against AMD. People with above-average intakes of a combination of vitamin C, vitamin E, betacarotene, and zinc also had a 35 percent lower risk of AMD.

Previous studies have highlighted a protective role for other caroteniods such as lutein and zeaxanthin, omega 3s, and monounsaturated fats.

Smoking is linked with a four times higher risk of AMD!

Food or pills?

Foods high in these nutrients seem to be more important than taking nutritional supplements. Although one major study has shown that high-dose supplements may also be effective, there is concern as to their long-term safety.

Feast for the Eyes

Choose a range of colorful plant foods to obtain high levels of a mix of antioxidants, which get concentrated in the tissues of eye protecting it from oxidative stress that causes damage.
  • Include intense yellow, orange, and dark green fruits and vegetables such as corn, banana, pumpkin, papaya, spinach, and Asian greens for at least two meals and one snack each day.

  • Eat a small handful of nuts or seeds daily, for example walnuts, linseeds, almonds, etc.

  • Select whole grains instead of refined white breads and low-fiber cereals.

  • Consume protective fats by using extra virgin olive oil, nut butters, canola oil, and avocado instead of dairy butter, margarine, and vegetable oils such as sunflower, safflower, or soybean oils.

Try adding one of these food items each month to your eating habits. And since dietary antioxidants appear to exert their strongest effects if taken early, teach your children to enjoy these foods for life!

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By Sue Radd. Reprinted with persmission from Signs of the Times, January 2007. Copyright © 2007 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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