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Carotenoids Found in Green Vegetables May Help Reduce Risk of AMD

Eating your vegetables may help your vision later in life, according to a new meta-analysis from researchers at Peking University in Beijing. The results of the study show that increased levels of dietary lutein and zeaxanthin - carotenoids found in green vegetables - may help reduce the risk of late stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Lutein and zeaxanthin create the yellow pigmentation of the macula, which is the part of the eye that provides protection from damaging blue light. If the yellow macular pigment is too thin, blue light can penetrate the retina and cause long term damage.

The research was published online ahead of print on September 8, 2011, in the British Journal of Nutrition.

The researchers examined data from 6 studies and concluded that people who consumed the most lutein and zeaxanthin were 26% less likely to develop late stage AMD. However, it also found that carotenoid consumption was not associated with a reduced risk of early stage AMD.

Lutein and zeathanthin are the only carotenoids able to build macular pigment. If your diet is low in fruits and vegetables, or if you smoke cigarettes and regularly consumer alcohol, you are at higher risk for developing AMD. Consider consuming more green vegetables, corn, and egg yolk to increase your intake of lutein and zeaxanthin.

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