Tuna salad: Omega-3 fatty acids were found to protect against age-related macular degeneration
Bread alert: Tinned tuna has less fish oil than fresh tuna but is more regularly eaten in sandwiches
Tuna sandwiches could help protect your eyesight in old age, say researchers.
Regular consumption of fish – including canned tuna – and other foods containing omega-3 fatty acids can cut the risk of the most common cause of age-related blindness by 42 per cent, a Harvard study has found.
Around 200,000 Britons suffer from age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, each year.
It is the most common cause of sight loss in those over 50 and robs sufferers of their central vision.
A team at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston compiled data on 38,000 women who had not been diagnosed with AMD.
Information on their eating habits, including their intake of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, was collected and their eye health tracked over ten years.
During this time, 235 cases of AMD were reported.
The researchers found that women who consumed the most fish oils had a 38 per cent lower risk of developing AMD compared with those who ate the least.
And consuming one or more servings of fish a week was linked to a 42 per cent lower risk of sight loss compared with eating one serving a month.
Study leader Dr William Christen said: 'The lower risk appeared to be due primarily to consumption of canned tuna fish and dark-meat fish.'
Although tinned tuna does not contain as much fish oil as fresh tuna, the finding is significant because it is so widely eaten in sandwiches. The study will be published in the June issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology medical journal.
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