The best foods for AMD
Scientific studies show that the ingredients lutein and zeaxanthin in the AREDS 2 formula are very important for macular health1. These two carotenoids create the yellow spot in the macula of the human eye, located at the back of the retina, and have important antioxidant functions that help protect your macula from the sun’s UV rays. The problem? The typical diet is lacking in both lutein and zeaxanthin. So, while you keep up with AREDS 2 formula regimen, also try to eat foods high in these “macular carotenoids.” It’s never too late to start eating with AMD in mind!
The best foods to eat for macular degeneration
Make sure to include these nutrients in your diet:
Vitamins A, C, and E are antioxidants that help your body fight cellular damage. To get more vitamin A, eat plenty of carotenoids, which include the “eye vitamins” Lutein and Zeaxanthin. They’re found in red-orange pigmented fruits and vegetables and in dark leafy greens. Citrus delivers hefty doses of vitamin C. Nuts and seeds, and their oils are rich in vitamin E.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Three important Omega-3s are EPA & DHA, mainly found in fatty fish, and ALA, which is found in nuts and seeds. Omega-3s help your body fight inflammation, which researchers believe may play a role in AMD. These fatty acids can also help lower bad cholesterol levels, which are also linked with AMD.
Zinc and Copper
These trace minerals contribute to eye health directly and indirectly. For example, Zinc helps your body absorb the antioxidant vitamin A and it also regulates cellular function. Meats, shellfish, and legumes, such as chickpeas, are high in zinc. For copper, eat plenty of dark leafy greens as well as nuts and seeds, legumes, and eggs.
Foods to avoid with when you’re living with macular degeneration
Unsurprisingly, the same foods you’re told to avoid for “heart health”, those that clog the blood vessels of your heart, are also a danger to the tiny blood vessels of your eyes. To protect your vision, avoid fast foods and go easy on the following, especially if you have high cholesterol:
- Processed foods that contain trans fats
- Tropical oils, like palm oil (use vitamin E–rich safflower and corn oil instead)
- Lard, vegetable shortening, and margarine
- High-fat dairy foods (eggs in moderation are a good source of eye-healthy nutrients)
- Fatty beef, pork, and lamb
Talk to your doctor before making changes to your diet.
References: 1. Ma, L., Liu, R., Du, J. H., Liu, T., Wu, S. S., & Liu, X. H. (2016). Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Meso-zeaxanthin Supplementation Associated with Macular Pigment Optical Density. Nutrients, 8(7), 426. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu8070426