What could be more valuable than your eyesight? But vision can be threatened with age by a disease called age-related macular degeneration, a condition which causes deterioration of the retinal cells in the center of the retina in the back of the eye.
It’s the leading cause of visual loss in older adults – and diet may play a role in preventing this disease that robs older people of their vision.
Protect your eyes by eating salmon
The good news? Helping yourself to a serving of tuna or salmon several times a week could help ward off macular degeneration of the retina. When researchers at Harvard Medical School looked at the dietary habits of 38,022 women as part of the Women’s Health Study, they discovered that women who ate fatty fish one or more times a week lowered their risk of macular degeneration by 42 percent. Women who ate fish only once a month or less didn’t enjoy this health benefit.
Why does eating salmon and tuna protect your eyes from macular degeneration? Researchers believe it’s the omega-3 fatty acids naturally found in fatty fish like salmon and tuna that helps to prevent this eye disease. Omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish have the added benefit of being heart-healthy. But keep in mind that this is only an observational study, and randomized clinical trials are needed before omega-3s are widely recommended for eye health.
Still, eating salmon and tuna twice a week has health benefits – if you choose wild salmon low in mercury. There’s no need to get fresh tuna when canned tuna is so inexpensive and readily available. Canned tuna may contain mercury, but light tuna usually contains the least. You can also buy mercury-free tuna at some natural food markets and online.
Another option is to take an omega-3 fatty acid supplement to protect your eyes from the ravages of macular degeneration. Most omega-3 fatty acid supplements contain negligible amounts of mercury if you buy them from a reputable manufacturer. People who are taking blood thinners or have a history of bleeding problems shouldn’t take omega-3 supplements.
The bottom line
Eating salmon and tuna could be a simple all-natural way to protect your eyes against macular degeneration. An added bonus? It’s good for your heart too. Put some fish on the dinner table twice a week – and reap the rewards.