Foods High in Lutein and Zeaxanthin


Foods high in lutein include lots of different colorful vegetables and fruits but because it is fat soluble be sure to include some healthy fats, like olive oil when eating.

The only way to take advantage of the antioxidant benefits of lutein is by eating foods that are rich in carotenoids or through supplementation.

The body cannot make this antioxidant so you must get it from food or supplements.

lutein macular degeneration

Foods with Lutein

Actually this antioxidant is found in a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, but egg yolks seem to be the best source because they are more bioavailable and better absorbed by the body.

Yellow plant pigments commonly found in yellow and dark green, leafy vegetables may reduce the risk of macular degeneration (AMD), according to a study reported in the September 2007 issue of Archives of Ophthalmology.


Here is a list of foods high in lutein:

lutein for eyes


Carrots

Squash

Cantaloupe

foods that contain lutein

Tomatoes

Spinach

Oranges

Kale

Collard greens

Red Pepper

Tomatoes

foods containing lutein

Broccoli

Corn

Eggs

Zucchini

According to The Lutein Information Bureau lightly cooked vegetables are a better source of lutein than raw, as the lutein is released when the cell walls are broken down by the cooking.

Here is a picture of a soup I make that includes foods high in lutein such as kale, tomatoes, and carrots.

foods high in lutein

Just to make things a bit more complicated, lutein is a fat-soluble substance, and so it is important to eat some healthy fat with your raw vegetables, such as olive oil, for proper absorption through the digestive tract.

"Without fat, we know that lutein absorption is negligible," says nutrition researcher Cheryl Rock, PhD, of the University of California, San Diego.

If your diet is low in (healthy) fat your carotenoid absorption may be affected. This may explain that while spinach has a higher concentration, the lesser amount in egg yolks is more absorbable and bio-available.

When you are eating your fresh spinach salad with some broccoli remember to use some olive oil as your dressing.

Foods High In Zeaxanthin

Foods having the highest content (>100mcg/100g serving), according to the Lutein and Zeaxanthin Scientific Review are:

√ Pepper, orange, raw... 1608

macular degeneration zeaxanthin

Corn,sweet,yellow, canned... 528

Persimmons, Japanese, raw... 488

Corn, frozen, cooked... 375

Spinach, raw... 331

Lettuce, cos or romaine, raw. 187

macular degeneration and zeaxanthin

Turnip greens, cooked... 267

Collard greens, cooked... 266

Spinach, cooked... 179

Nectarines 179

Kale, cooked... 173

Tangerine, mandarin... 142

Super-Greens Powder

My husband who is at high risk for macular degeneration, due to family history, unfortunately does not like eating salads or cooked greens.

While I would agree that eating fresh or cooked spinach, kale, or collard greens is better, I needed to find another solution for him to get his greens.  We've found that Garden of Life's Raw Organic Green Super Food powder is a good alternative.  Put it in smoothies or just mix with water and you can get a rich supply of many antioxidant rich nutrients from a variety of organic fruits and vegetables, including organic spinach and kale. 

Garden of Life Perfect Food® - Raw Organic Green Super Food Powder

Goji Berries Benefits to the Eyes

goji berries benefits

In the health-food industry, the Chinese wolfberry, more commonly known as the goji berry, is being touted as the next great "super food." Goji berries grow on an evergreen shrub found in temperate and subtropical regions in China, Mongolia and in the Himalayas in Tibet. The berries are usually found dried and look like red raisins. Rich in antioxidants, particularly carotenoids such as beta-carotene, goji berries are commonly found in juices and teas or can be bought as a dried fruit.

Rich in antioxidants, particularly carotenoids such as beta-carotene, goji berries are commonly found in juices and teas or can be bought as a dried fruit.

Despite the berry's popularity, the scientific research on the goji berry is still in its infancy. "There is limited data on the wolfberry," said Mark Failla, chairman of the Human Nutrition Department at Ohio State University, who is studying the goji. Based on early research on the berry, Failla says it's clear that gojis contain extremely high levels of zeaxanthin, a carotenoid related to beta carotene.

Goji berries and juices can be found at Chinese herbal shops or on line. Eat them as a snack or put them in your smoothie or oatmeal. Our favorite brand is Navitas and we have found the best price at Amazon here:

Navitas Naturals Organic Goji Berries

It is important to note that goji berries may interact with anticoagulant drugs (commonly called "blood-thinners"), such as warfarin (Coumadin®).

According to Lisa Hark, PhD, RD, a renowned nutrition expert and registered dietician at Wills Eye Hospital Department of Research in Philadelphia, " ... the retina has the highest rate of metabolism in the body and consumes the most oxygen."  That's why it's so important to nourish it everyday with nutrients that help it to function at its best. 

For More Information:

Learn Why You Should Include Kale in your Diet 

Go from Foods High in Lutein to Macular Degeneration Diet 

Go from Foods High in Lutein to Macular Degeneration 


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