The phrase “eyes eat fish” said by many nations and in many languages, has a special significance in terms of health, a new U.S. scientific research concludes that people who eat fish, especially oily, containing a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, at least one to two times a week, as dictated in the Mediterranean Diet, reduce almost half the risk of developing macular degeneration, a dominating condition that can cause a large decrease in vision or even blindness in the elderly.
The researchers, led by Dr. William Kristen School of Medicine, Harvard University, found that consumption especially fatty fish like salmon, tuna, trout, sardines and herring, reduces up to 42% the risk of loss of vision in older women, compared with those eating fish less than once a week. The finding, which relied on the study about 38,000 women and dietary habits over ten years, confirms earlier research findings concerning men. According to researchers, what is more beneficial to the issue of vision is the consumption of fish with dark meat.
The macula is part of the retina and the degeneration that mainly affects people over 40 years, creates a black spot in center field, which gradually tends to grow. The condition is either the abnormal growth of blood vessels behind the retina or the destruction of photosensitive cells in the retina same lens. As the population ages, in modern societies, the disease becomes more common. Doctors can stop the progression of disease but cannot reverse the damage already done, so we need prevention methods, including proper nutrition and smoking cessation. This is where the Mediterranean diet comes in place.
The beneficial omega-3 fatty acids (mainly DHA and EPA), apart from the fish, may take the form of a dietary supplement. However, Dr. Kristen stated that it is still premature to recommend someone for people to increase their consumption of fish or of any dietary supplements, and there should be further research on the issue. “At the moment, the best advice against macular degeneration is not to smoke,” he said.