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Carotenoids, the best allies to protect our eyes from AMD

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Carrots are said to make you lovable and make you look good, but they also help maintain good eyesight. This is what a team of researchers from Inserm has just demonstrated. According to their study, carrots – but also other foods that are part of the Mediterranean diet – help protect our retina, especially from a disease: age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

These foods, including carrots, indeed contain carotenoids, plant pigments that will protect the eyesight. Until now, scientists suspected that certain foods could protect the eye, but this is the first study that can formally prove it.

An antioxidant and blue light absorption role

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How much can fruits and vegetables protect our eyes? In this eight-year study that followed more than 600 patients, those who had a higher concentration of carotenoids had a 40% lower risk of developing severe AMD. This is no small feat in the face of a disease which is the leading cause of blindness in France after 50 years. Thus, the simple fact of having a varied and balanced diet can reduce the risk of severe forms of the disease.

How do these carotenoids work? On the one hand, they absorb blue light, known to damage the retina in the long term, and on the other hand, they play an antioxidant role in order to protect the retina from oxidative stress.

The Mediterranean diet, a mine of carotenoids

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These carotenoids are present in carrots, but more widely in the Mediterranean diet – or Cretan diet -, also known to fight against cardiovascular disease and because it reduces the risk of developing certain cancers.

This diet is simple: it is based on the consumption of fruits and vegetables. Carotenoids are then found more particularly in orange-yellow fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes or citrus fruits, as well as in green leafy vegetables such as cabbage or spinach. In addition, the Mediterranean diet also provides omega 3 thanks to fatty fish and olive oil.

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