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Posted on 05-03-2016

Drink Red Wine, Avoid Red Meats for Eye Health


If your idea of a great meal is a steak accompanied by a glass or two of red wine, you may want to reconsider your behavior. Studies show that the wine can lead to better eyesight, while red meat has been linked to blindness in old age.

Resveratrol in Red Wine Fights Disease

Due to the presence of the chemical resveratrol, a compound found in some red grapes, red wine may enhance the ability of the immune system to fight off certain diseases. This has been proven in studies of mice who were injected with the chemical and developed resistance to a group of diverse age-related diseases, including cataracts, osteoporosis, heart disease, and motor control decline.

Additional studies using yeast, flies, worms, and fish confirm these initial results and suggest that resveratrol may be able to impact type II diabetes as well, while studies on humans have shown reduced incidences of skin cancer, esophageal and colon tumors, Alzheimer disease, and inflammatory arthritis.

Reduced Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

According to retina specialist Paolo Lanzetta, MD, moderate consumption of red wine might play a protective role against age-related macular degeneration,

“The regular consumption of red wine might explain the ‘French paradox,’ i.e., why the French, in spite of having a diet that is very rich in saturated fats, suffer a much lower incidence of coronary heart disease compared with other populations having a similarly fatty diet,” Dr. Lanzetta said.

“There is a great deal of attention focused on resveratrol and its natural source, red wine. We need further studies, including large population studies conducted in areas of production and regular consumption of red wine,” he said. So far, studies of 3072 adults between 45 and 74, showed a statistically significant negative association between red wine consumption and AMD.

If you’re not a wine drinker, you might get similar effects from drinking red grape juice or eating peanuts, raspberries, blueberries, or cranberries. Most wine drinkers are happy to stick with the recommendations of the study.

Heavy Red Meat Consumption Increases AMD Chances

Steak lovers might be less pleased with medical findings that correlate the consumption of red meat with blindness in old age. Using data from a 13-year detailed study that monitored 7000 middle-aged men and women, those who eat red meat at least 10 times a week are 50% more likely to develop symptoms of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and those who only had five times a week. Considering that AMD is a major cause of vision loss in the developed world, the finding is significant.

Specifically, the study found that those who ate more red meat were more likely to develop symptoms; 1680 had early stage AMD, while 77 had late stage AMD. Heavy red meat eaters are at a 47% risk of developing AMD versus those who ate it only five times a week or less. Those who ate chicken three and four times a week had a 60% lower risk of developing the disease versus those who only had it twice a week.

Protect Your Eye Health

None of this research suggests that you should increase your drinking and cut red meat from your diet, but health-conscious individuals might do well to enjoy their steak and wine on occasions while pairing the vino with poultry more often.

As you age, it remains important to have regular eye checkups that can check for the signs of macular degeneration. Schedule an appointment at the Katy or Memorial locations of Eye Site Texas to check the status of your vision.

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