Do you find yourself squinting more and more to read the menu at restaurants? Do you often feel like your eyes are tired and can’t stay open at the end of a long day? Over time, the changes in our bodies result in more than a few pesky conditions, and one of the most frustrating is vision loss. Luckily, what we eat can be a great benefit to our vision as time goes along, and when it comes to your eye health, the nutrient lutein is key.
Lutein is a carotenoid, or a plant compound that gives some fruits and vegetables their rich yellow and orange colors, related to other nutrients like beta-carotene and vitamin A. It’s a powerful antioxidant that defends the body against free-radicals that can harm our health. More specifically, lutein is recognized for aiding in long-term eye health, and getting enough of it in your diet is important!
Lutein can help your vision in more ways than one. Since our eyes are exposed to both oxygen and light, they become vulnerable to oxidative damage. Lutein specifically targets these types of free-radicals and cancels them out, protecting the precious cells in the eye.
It’s said that lutein and another carotenoid called zeaxanthin are the only ones that accumulate in the macular area located at the back of the eye. The macula is highly responsible for our vision, and high concentrations of lutein in the area can protect your eyes from oxidative damage as well as damage from blue light.
Studies have also shown that lutein and zeaxanthin can actually ward off age-related vision loss, and could even prevent the progression to blindness. Research also suggests that a diet rich in lutein could also halt the formation of cataracts, the cloudy patches that can develop on the surface of the eye, hindering vision and more.
Finally, lutein can help with diabetic retinopathy, a diabetes-related condition where cells in the eyes are damaged and vision is lost. Animal studies have shown that lutein reduced markers of this type of oxidative damage in the eye.
Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to get more lutein in your day-to-day. While many foods get their pigment from yellow or orange lutein, the best sources of the nutrient are actually leafy greens like kale, spinach, broccoli, and parsley. Egg yolks also contain high amounts of lutein and the fat content in them is said to boost absorption of the nutrient.
And of course, you always have the option of trying out a supplement. Dosages from six to 20 mg. have shown to reduce the risk of eye conditions. As always, get a doctors OK before trying any new supplement. For a trusted brand we love, try this lutein supplement from Puritan’s Pride ($17.99 for a two-pack, Amazon).
Here’s to longer-lasting peepers!