There’s further reason to avoid trans fats, and get an ample amount of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. Your eyesight.
New research from two teams in Australia shows that omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the risk of developing a retina-destroying condition known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). On the flip side, researchers found that those who ate the most trans fats were almost twice as likely to develop AMD.
The findings aren’t new. In fact, experts have known about the eyesight/omega-3 connection for about a decade. But the latest study helps reaffirm earlier evidence.
“It’s sort of consoling to see that we have this convergence of findings coming from different continents,” says Jean-Paul SanGiovanni, a staff scientist with the National Eye Institute in Bethesda, Maryland.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the top cause of blindness among people 65 and over in the developed world. It occurs when blood vessels or cells in the central portion of the retina, called the macula, begin to break down.
Nervous tissue and the retinas contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, especially one known as DHA (docosahexaenoic acid, a particularly beneficial omega-3). So it’s not surprising that omega-3-rich foods would be beneficial. Foods that have a high concentration of omega-3 include fish (salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines), nuts, and olive oil.
The only confirmed ways of developing AMD is through genes, smoking, and old age. But with the latest findings lending more credence to previous studies, your diet may be soon added to that list.
May 22nd, 2009