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Lutein and Eye Health

Posted on February 3, 2008

Lutein is a carotenoid antioxidant that is found in many fruits and vegetables. It is also a yellow-orange pigment that gives those vegetables their yellow and orange colors. Here’s what we know about lutein and eye health.

Lutein is believed to be important for eye health, providing possible protection against cataracts and macular degeneration. It is naturally present in the macula area of the retina. The macula is the part of the retina that is responsible for central vision. In macular degeneration, it is the central area of vision that is lost.

Dark leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach, Romaine lettuce, collard greens, Swiss Chard, and turnip greens are high in lutein. Other lutein-rich foods include eggs, broccoli, tomatoes, avocados, parsley, corn, sweet potatoes, squash, mangoes, and papaya.

Several studies have suggested a direct correlation between consumption of lutein and a reduced risk of developing macular degeneration and cataracts.

Though researchers still have a lot to learn about the relationship between lutein and eye health and there are no guarantees that consuming foods rich in lutein will prevent age-related eye disease, adding more lutein-rich foods to your diet is a good idea if you are concerned about macular degeneration or cataracts.

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