If you’re eating a diet full of different colored vegetables and fruits, you should be covered with respect to lutein. However, if you have a history of eye problems (particularly Age-related Macular Degeneration), you should make sure you eat plenty of orange and yellow produce, and possibly consider taking a supplement.
According to this article, on Dr. Axe’s website, lutein and zeaxanthin are the only two carotenoids that are deposited in high quantities into the macular portion of the eyes.
Lutein, nicknamed “the eye vitamin,” is a type of carotenoid antioxidant that is most well-known for protecting eye health. Ask yourself this question: How many colors are in your favorite foods? The answer will tell you how much lutein you’re getting. Just like many other types of antioxidants, lutein is found in brightly colored foods like fruits and vegetables — especially leafy greens and types that are deep orange or yellow.
Along with another vision-boosting antioxidant called zeaxanthin, lutein is abundant in anti-inflammatory, cancer-fighting foods including kale, broccoli and many other green vegetables, eggs yolks and citrus fruits — all of which help protect the eyes from oxidative stress.
The average person who eats the Standard American Diet is likely running low in lutein, in addition to other important antioxidants. The human body cannot synthesize lutein or zeaxanthin on its own, which means we must obtain these important nutrients from our diet (or in some cases, supplements). You already know that filling up on plenty of fruits and veggies is good for you — and here’s just another example of why that is.
Although it’s best to get enough lutein naturally through a healthy diet high in anti–inflammatory foods, nutritional supplements or fortified foods and beverages can also be used by some people in order to help increase lutein levels. Are supplements really necessary to achieve benefits? Likely not, but overall we still have a way to go when it comes to understanding the full potential of lutein in terms of disease prevention, bioavailability, metabolism and dose-response relationships.
Read on for some of the benefits of lutein…