If you’re looking to prevent eye conditions like macular degeneration and cataracts, a fantastic way to begin is to consume the right diet. You need specific nutrients and foods for healthy eyes, but of special note are lutein and zeaxanthin. What are they and how do they keep your eyes healthy?
Lutein and zaexanthin are carotenoids, pigments that give plants red, orange, and yellow colors. Among their functions is protecting plants from high-energy light rays called blue light. In actuality, the macula contains a third kind of carotenoid, according to recent research. This pigment, known as meso-zeaxanthin, is produced in the retina using ingested lutein and isn’t found in any food source.
The Benefits Of Lutein And Zeaxanthin
The primary benefit of lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin has to do with how they protect the eyes from blue light. They block blue light from reaching the retina which prevents light-induced oxidation that leads to macular degeneration (AMD). They also work with other antioxidants such as vitamins E and C and beta-carotene to defend the body from free radicals that damage the cells and lead to many diseases.
The benefits of these three carotenoids are well-documented in many of studies published in reputable journals. The American Journal of Epidemiology, Ophthalmology and Archives of Ophthalmology released research linking high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin with reduced incidences of macular degeneration. Two research in Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science found about similar results because increased levels of macular pigments intended reduced risks of developing AMD.
What’s more, the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS and AREDS2) formulated a daily antioxidant containing vitamins C and E, zinc, and copper, in addition to lutein and zeaxanthin. It was found that this combination reduced the risk of AMD progression by 10 to 25 percent. The said research did not clarify if lutein and zeaxanthin also decreased the risk of cataracts.
Both of these nutrients are abundant in yellow and green vegetables, especially leafy ones. They’re also found in non-vegetarian sources, especially egg yolks. However, it would be best to stick to vegetarian items when you have high cholesterol levels.
Just like the rest of the body, the eyes need proper nutrition to stay healthy and free from diseases. Consuming food items rich in lutein and zeaxanthin is a fantastic way to maintain excellent vision.