Can nuts reduce the risk of macular degeneration?
Although the evidence is limited, there is research to suggest that nuts can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration .
Macular degeneration (MD) is where a small section of the retina called the macula degenerates with age and affects central vision. The macula is a yellow spot and is rich in carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthins. These carotenoids are carried to the eye on HDL good cholesterol.
In a small Australian study, 1-2 handfuls of nuts a week reduced MD by 35% .
It is thought that as the retina is highly susceptible to oxidative stress, nutritional factors such as antioxidants, carotenoids, vitamins and essential fatty acids – many of which are found in nuts – may help to protect the eye.
- Dinu, M., et al., Food groups and risk of age-related macular degeneration: a systematic review with meta-analysis. Eur J Nutr, 2018.
- Tan, J.S., et al., Dietary fatty acids and the 10-year incidence of age-related macular degeneration: the Blue Mountains Eye Study. Arch Ophthalmol, 2009. 127(5): p. 656-65.