Lutein, Zeaxanthin & Eye Health


Foods high in Lutein & Zeaxanthin

Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, collard greens, broccoli, asparagus, swiss chard, mustard greens, turnip greens, romaine lettuce, chicory and bok choy contain high levels of Lutein and Zeaxanthin.  It is believed that such green, leafy vegetables are particularly good for eyes and vision.  Lutein and zeaxanthin are the only carotenoids that can be found naturally in the eye.  They are believed to absorb blue sunlight, which damages the retina and protect the eye by soaking up harmful free radicals.  They may also strengthen retinal cell membranes.  Lutein and zeaxanthin have been reported to be nearly ten times more powerful than vitamin E in protecting the cells from UV damage.

Cataract & Lutein & Zeaxanthin

Research has suggested a link between vegetables high in lutein and zeaxanthin and the risk of developing cataracts.  Cataract is a common eye concern, usually related to age.  The pigments in these dark green vegetables may be the reason for their beneficial effect.  These pigments are, the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin.  Both of these are found in the retina of the eye and neutralize free radicals.  Cataract may be caused by free radicals.  Studies have shown that an increase in the consumption of spinach, which is particularly high in lutein and zeaxanthin is associated with a lower risk for cataract extraction. 

Macular Degeneration & Lutein & Zeaxanthin

Research has suggested a link between vegetables high in lutein and zeaxanthin and the risk of macular degeneration.  Macular degeneration is an age related condition and is quite common.  The pigments in dark green vegetables are the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin.  Lutein and zeaxanthin can neutralize free radicals and macular degeneration, is thought to be partly caused by such free radicals. 

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