The Ophthalmic Research Group at Aston University, Birmingham questioned 158 members of the Society who have age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and 50 people without AMD about their eating habits. The participants kept a 24 hour food diary and their ability to prepare and cook healthy food was assessed and the two groups compared.

The researchers were particularly interested in the participants’ intake of lutein and zeaxanthin. These plant dyes are known as carotenoids and are found in high concentration in the macula. A large study, the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS 2), suggests that a high intake of lutein can reduce the risk of developing advanced AMD.

In the Aston study the AMD group’s average intake of lutein and zeaxanthin was low in for both men and women. Those who were able to cook a hot meal ate significantly more than those who were not able.

The Aston researchers concluded: “For an ‘informed’ population, many AMD participants were under-consuming nutrients considered to be useful for their condition. Participants without AMD were more likely to reach recommended daily allowance values for energy and a range of nutrients. It is therefore essential to design more effective dietary education and dissemination methods for people with, and at risk of, AMD.”

You can find more information about the benefits of a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, especially dark green, leafy vegetables, as these are known to contain the highest levels of lutein, on our website by clicking here….