Natural Foods Merchandiser

Research supports dietary benefits

Three studies have been released recently, each finding that specific dietary changes can help combat disease. The results of a Dutch study suggest that the risk of age-related macular degeneration can be reduced by a third by increasing one's intake of vitamins C and E, as well as zinc and beta-carotene—all of which are rich in antioxidants. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, AMD is the leading cause of central vision loss and blindness in the United States for people over 50. The condition affects the central part of the retina called the macula. AMD affects more than 10 million people in the United States. The findings were published in the Dec. 28 issue of The Journal of American Medical Association.

A study published in the February issue of The American Journal of Public Health suggests that increased intake of vitamin D might reduce the risk of certain cancers by as much as 50 percent. Researchers at the University of California Moores Cancer Center said that vitamin D deficiency could account for several thousand premature deaths from cancer each year. Vitamin D is produced by the body in response to exposure to sunlight and can be consumed in small amounts in milk, fish, liver and egg yolk. Earlier research has found that vitamin D deficiency is higher in regions where sunshine levels are weaker.

Researchers at the University of California have found that eating at least five portions of certain fruits and vegetables could cut the risk of pancreatic cancer by 50 percent. Citrus fruits, onions, garlic, beans, carrots, corn and dark leafy vegetables were named as foods that may be the most effective in combating the development of pancreatic cancer. The American Cancer Society says that approximately 32,000 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVII/number 2/p. 6

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