Healing Kitchen

Macular Degeneration
By filtering out the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays and by keeping free radicals from damaging the retina, antioxidants may help to protect against macular degeneration. A diet rich in flavonoids, including quercetin and anthocyanins, may help stave off degeneration of the macula. Research suggests that beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, selenium, and lutein and zeaxanthin serve as protective antioxidants against macular degeneration. The macula's yellow color is due in fact, to the presence of the carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin. The carotenoid lycopene may also be useful because of its antioxidant properties. Zinc is important as well, because of the physiologic role it plays in the retina. A recent study of more than 3,000 people age 45 to 74 found that drinking wine reduced the risk of macular degeneration by 19%. The probable mechanism is flavonoid content. Other alcoholic beverages were not linked to a lower risk. Note that some studies have shown that even one glass of alcohol can raise breast cancer risk.

We believe that it's possible to manage and/or improve certain conditions through what you eat. When we create "Mega-Recipes" for an ailment, we strive to include the maximum number of the nutrients that are shown to have benefit for that ailment. We also expect the Mega-Recipe to contain at least 25% of recommended intakes for those nutrients. See the list of recipes that have met our criteria for this ailment.

What You Should Eat & Why

Anthocyanins may be useful for macular degeneration because they help prevent free radical damage and bolster collagen stucture in the retina.
Leading Food Sources of anthocyanins: Cherries, Blueberries, Cabbage, red, Radishes, Grapes, Raspberries, Pomegranates, Cranberries, Rhubarb, Strawberries

Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants that may enhance blood flow to the retina while fighting free radical damage.
Leading Food Sources of flavonoids: Broccoli, Tomatoes, Lemons, Pomegranates, Limes, Chocolate, Soybeans, Oranges, Apples, Onions, Grapefruit, white, Carrots, Blueberries

The unique structure and chemistry of lycopene contribute to its ability to protect against oxidative damage. Lycopene may help to neutralize the cell-damaging free radicals that are considered a leading cause of macular degeneration.
Leading Food Sources of lycopene: Tomatoes, Grapefruit, pink, Guava

The antioxidant power of quercetin may be valuable in warning off the free radical damage so frequently cited as the leading cause of macular degeneration.
Leading Food Sources of quercetin: Cabbage, green, Spinach, Cranberries, Kale, Pears, Grapes, Apples, Onions, Garlic, Grapefruit, white

Selenium boosts the body's overall antioxidant activity, so is an important part of the antioxidant regimen. In addition, selenium works synergistically with vitamin E.
Leading Food Sources of selenium: Rice, brown, Shrimp, Sunflower seeds, Chicken, Wheat, Eggs, Tuna, Brazil nuts

vitamin C
As an antioxidant, Vitamin C can neutralize free radicals linked to macular degeneration.
Leading Food Sources of vitamin C: Cabbage, red, Strawberries, Potatoes, Tangerines & other mandarins, Peppers, bell, red, Oranges, Kiwi fruit

vitamin E
According to recent research, the risk of late-stage macular degeneration may be significantly lower in older adults who have high levels of vitamin E in their bloodstream.
Leading Food Sources of vitamin E: Broccoli, Mangoes, Almonds, Avocados, Peanuts, Sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts

Zinc plays a critical role in retina function. Some research suggests that zinc can slow the progression of macular degeneration.
Leading Food Sources of zinc: Barley, Chicken, Oysters, Crab, Beef, Lamb, Wheat, Turkey

Date Published: 05/03/2005
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