If you are wanting to avoid eye conditions like macular degeneration and cataracts, a fantastic way to start is to consume the ideal diet. You need specific foods and nutrients for healthy eyes, but of particular 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. One of their functions is protecting plants from high energy light rays called blue light. These materials are also highly concentrated in the macula of the eye, giving it a yellowish color. In actuality, the macula comprises a third form of carotenoid, as stated in recent research. This pigment, called meso-zeaxanthin, is produced in the retina using ingested lutein and is not found in any food source.
The Advantages Of Lutein And Zeaxanthin
The primary advantage of lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin has to do with how they shield the eyes from blue light. They also work together with other antioxidants like vitamins E and C and beta-carotene to defend the body from free radicals that damage the cells and cause many diseases.
The advantages of the three carotenoids are well-documented in a number of studies published in reputable journals. The American Journal of Epidemiology, Ophthalmology and Archives of Ophthalmology released research associating high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin with reduced incidences of macular degeneration. Two research in Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science found about similar results in that elevated levels of macular pigments meant lower risks of developing AMD.
Furthermore, 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 study did not clarify whether lutein and zeaxanthin also decreased the risk of cataracts.
Both of these nutrients are abundant in yellow and green vegetables, particularly leafy ones. Cooked spinach and cooked kale are considered top sources. They are also found in non-vegetarian sources, particularly 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 remain healthy and free from diseases. Consuming food items rich in lutein and zeaxanthin is a fantastic way to keep excellent vision.