Lutein Facts – What It Is & How to Get It
You may not have heard of lutein, but this is one naturally powerful anti-oxidant — a carotenoid — that offers many benefits. (You can get more info on carotenoids here.)
It’s highly concentrated in the macular region of the retina, and is thought to function as a light filter, protecting the eye tissues from sunlight damage. As a result, most people associate lutein with eye health. In fact, according to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation, increasing dietary levels of lutein, or taking lutein supplements, may help to prevent and treat macular degeneration (see our caveat below on this point).
Lutein is supposed to be beneficial in other areas as well. It is said to improve the hydration and elasticity of skin. Likewise, it may have antioxidant effects to promote cardiovascular health — helping to prevent the peroxidation of fats and cholesterol in the blood, and reducing plaque buildup in arteries.
Lutein Facts — Where to Find It
Lutein is found in foods such as dark green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach, but it can also be found in foods like broccoli, corn, orange pepper, kiwi fruit, grapes, orange juice, zucchini, squash and in egg yolks.
Research is mixed on whether or not lutein supplements have the same effect as naturally occurring lutein in fruits and vegetables. Some studies have shown positive results for eye health, but there’s only limited evidence. Our motto is to always go for the natural version first before resorting to supplements.