Lutein (LOO-teen) is an important antioxidant. Lutein is a pigmented nutrient (carotenoid) that is responsible for the yellow colors of fruits and vegetables and is present in the highest quantities in dark, leafy green vegetables. You’re born with a certain amount of lutein in your eye, but your body doesn’t reproduce it.
Many studies have shown that lutein reduces the risk of chronic eye diseases, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.
The incidence of age-related macular degeneration and cataract is growing. Worldwide, more than 25 million people are affected by age-related macular degeneration and the cataract formation. AMD is the leading cause of blindness in people over age 55 in the Western world and the incidence is expected to triple by 2025.
How much lutein do I need?
Without adequate consumption, the amount of lutein in the eye may deplete with age. To help maintain proper eye health, most recent studies show a benefit for lutein supplementation at 6-10 mg/day. Since your body doesn’t make lutein, you must constantly replace it through the foods you eat. Dark, leafy green vegetables like spinach or kale are especially good sources. Taking a multivitamin that contains added lutein also helps.
You can include lutein in your diet by eating: greens beans, kale, collards, cucumber, zucchini, avocado, spinach, asparagus, tomatoes, oranges, and the list goes on…