What is lutein? Lutein is one of the most important antioxidants for your eyes - especially the macula. It is a carotenoid found in dark green leafy vegetables such as kale and collard greens. It also provides the yellow or orange pigment found in some fruits and vegetables.
Carotenoids are antioxidants that help protect us from the damaging effects of free radicals. This antioxidant is found in the eye, blood serum, skin, cervix, brain and breast.
The highest concentrations of lutein are in the macula - the small center of the retina that is responsible for our straight ahead and detailed vision. More specifically lutein is found in the macular pigment. The macular pigment is known to provide protection against macular degeneration and cataracts.
The benefits of this antioxidant are not just for the macula, this pigment benefits our eyes, our skin and our arteries thanks to it's powerful antioxidant properties that fights free radical damage.
An imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants can lead to cellular damage, which is a leading cause of heart disease, many cancers, and aging.
Lutein is found in the eye, blood serum, skin, cervix, brain and breast. The body cannot manufacture it, so one must get it through diet or lutein supplements. Free radicals play a significant role in the development of eye cataracts as well as macular degeneration. Lutein is found in
1) the lens of your eyes and
2) the retina, especially the macular pigment
Oxidation plays a role in the development of cataracts, or the clouding of the lens. Antioxidants are known to protect our cells from the damage that they cause.
Here is the conclusion of a study that was reported on in January 2008.
The prospective observational data from a large cohort of female health professionals reported:
"higher dietary intakes of lutein/zeaxanthin and vitamin E from food and supplements were associated with significantly decreased risks of cataract."
Archives of Ophthalmology Vol. 126 No. 1, January 2008
Lutein is an important antioxidant that is found in the macular pigment protecting the eye from damaging ultra violet light.
Carotenoids are a group of powerful antioxidants that include well known compounds such as:
lycopene, and zeaxanthin.
Lutein is a pigment that gives food a red, orange or yellow color. In the dark-green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach the green chlorophyll will mask the pigment. It is also found in egg yolks.
Hundreds of carotenoids are found in nature, in fact around 600- but only 20 of them are found in the body. We get these carotenoids either from the food we eat or from supplements - the body does not make them.
Carotenoids are naturally occurring, fat soluble pigments in plants. Because they are fat soluble, they are better absorbed when you include some healthy fat like olive oil with your spinach.
The only way to take advantage of the antioxidant benefit of this carotenoid is by eating foods that are rich in lutein or through supplementation because the body cannot make it.
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.
For more info go to:
Foods High In Lutein
This eye healthy antioxidant is found in hundreds of nutritional supplements, from multivitamins to eye care formulas to products containing this carotenoid as the sole ingredient.
Be sure to read the label to see how much is included in each dose. The macular degeneration vitamin that my husband and I take includes lutein as well as other good macular degeneration antioxidants, like zeaxanthin and bilberry. It uses all natural food sources that help to ensure that the nutrients are absorbed and utilized by the body.
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