Carotenoids in food may prevent blindness

September 12, 2007 in Healthy Eating, Nutrition for Older Adults, Nutrition Topics in the News

Carotenoids in food may prevent blindness

Eating more foods that are high in carotenoids may prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to American eye health researchers.

In this study, the dietary habits of 4,519 adults aged 60 to 80 were tracked for a six-year period. The researchers found that older adults who had the highest intake of carotenoids had a 35 per cent lower chance of developing AMD as compared with those who had the lowest intake of carotenoids. A high intake of two specific carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, appeared to be the most beneficial in preventing AMD.

Nearly 40% of Canadians over the age of 75 will develop age-related macular degeneration. AMD is a condition that causes gradual blindness as the macula, or center of the eye, slowly deteriorates. It's thought that the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin may prevent damage to the macula by helping the eye filter harmful short-wavelength light.

To increase your intake of carotenoids, choose fruits and vegetables with a deep green and bright orange/ yellow color such as spinach, carrots, butternut squash, pumpkin, mango, apricots and cantaloupe. Other good sources of carotenoids include eggs, spinach, kale, turnip greens, romaine lettuce, broccoli, corn and zucchini.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.