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Seafood Is See-Food

Posted: Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Many may find it hard to see it that way but certain fats in your diet can be surprisingly good for the health of your eyes.

For example, omega-3 is a polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) that plays an important role in the eye and nervous system affecting a wide range of functions in cells and tissues. PUFAs help maintain good health, promote brain and vision development and may protect against diseases. In fact, recent studies show omega-3 may be beneficial for protecting against age-related eye disease.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in older adults today, accounting for 54 percent of all blindness in white Americans and 45 percent of visual disability in the general population. Studies suggested a link between diet and AMD, which is untreatable and causes fuzziness, shadows or other distortions in the center of vision.

More frequent consumption of fish and overall intake of omega-3 fats appeared to protect against advanced AMD. People who ate fish more than once a week had a lower risk, the studies suggested, than those who ate fish less than once per month.

Nutritionists point out it's important to include healthful fats, such as omega-3, in your diet. Just don't overdo it. Being overweight may have the opposite effect and be harmful to the health of your eyes. Limit your intake of saturated and trans fats, found in many fried foods, butter, lard and high-fat cuts of meat.

Good sources of omega-3 are cold-water, oil-rich fish, such as salmon, mackerel and herring. Most people can get an adequate amount of omega-3 by eating at least two meals that include fish per week. Fortunately, if you can't get enough PUFA in your diet, supplementation offers great benefits.



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