A new study reported yet another good reason to eat fish: Women whose diet was rich in omega-3 fatty acids found in fish were at significantly lower risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, according to a story in the New York Times.
The Harvard Women’s Health Study, which followed 39,876 women in midlife, had participants fill out detailed food-frequency questionnaires at the start of the study in 1993. After an average 10 years of follow-up, 235 of the women had developed macular degeneration, a progressive eye disease that is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss in the elderly.
But the analysis, in Archives of Ophthalmology, found that women who had reported eating one or more servings of fish per week were 42 percent less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration than those who ate less than a serving each month. (Researchers adjusted the data to control for other factors linked to the disease, including smoking.)
Eating canned tuna and dark-meat fish like mackerel, salmon, sardines, bluefish and swordfish appeared to have the most benefit.
“We know that inflammatory processes are involved in A.M.D., and the omega-3 long-chain fatty acids do have an anti-inflammatory effect,” said the lead author, Dr. William G. Christen, an associate professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.