Switching to a Low Glycemic Diet May Reduce the Risk of Age-Related Eye Diseases
NDTV Food Desk | Updated: May 19, 2017 12:35 IST
eyes connect you to the outside world. They are a sensitive and delicate part of your body that need a lot of care but are often ignored. Health experts believe that after the age of 40 your vision starts to change. These changes are a normal part of the process ageing and as you age you are at a higher risk of developing age-related eye diseases such as macular degeneration, cataract, glaucoma, low or dry eyes. Researchers at the Tufts University in the United States have found that switching to a low glycemic diet can offer many health benefits especially in reducing the risk of developing eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration.
The glycemic index (GI) is a number that represents the effect of a particular food item on a person’s blood sugar level. Foods like potatoes, white bread and white rice have a high glycemic index which means that they can cause sudden spikes in your blood sugar levels while others like whole grains and legumes release sugar slowly in your body when consumed and therefore, they have a low glycemic index.
Age-related macular degeneration or AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 60. It occurs when a part of your retina called macula is damaged. Previous studies have linked diabetes with the risk of AMD but new research shows that regular consumption of foods that have a high glycemic index also plays a major role in increasing your risk of developing AMD. Therefore, researchers of the study suggest that it is beneficial to switch to foods like whole grains, legumes, chickpeas and leafy greens that have a low glycemic index.
According to the study that was carried out in a mice model, switching to a low glycemic diet can also help prevent the risk of chronic ailments like type 2 diabetes and heart disease that can lead to AMD later in life. For the study, the researchers randomized 59 mice into 2 groups where 19 mice were fed a low glycemic diet and 40 mice were fed a high glycemic diet. The only difference in the two diets was the carbohydrate source. The researchers followed them for six months (equivalent to 34 human years) to see if either diet slowed or accelerated the onset of AMD. Their findings suggest a strong interaction between dietary carbohydrates, the gut microbiome, specific biochemical molecules, and symptoms of AMD.
The study concluded that low glycemic diets release sugar into the bloodstream less rapidly than their higher-glycemic counterparts and thereby, they may help in reducing the risk of ailments that can also affect your eyes and such diets may be beneficial for people who are predisposed to AMD. They are also known to lower inflammation which can accelerate the risk of other age-related diseases.
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