Benefits of Lutein
Lutein is an antioxidant found in many fruits and vegetables. The benefit of eating lutein-rich foods is an improvement in visual health, primarily a lower risk of macular degeneration (MD) and cataracts. MD is an age-related disease that causes blurry vision. In some cases, people with MD don’t even realize that they are losing their vision, as the process proceeds so slowly. Cataracts also affect vision negatively. A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens, which leads to blurry vision. Over half of people over age 80 have had at least one cataract in their lifetimes.
Vegetables are perhaps the best source of lutein, since there are so many lutein-rich vegetables to choose from, and most of them contain high amounts of lutein. Try adding some carrots to your salad, boiling up an ear of corn, or slicing up an orange pepper to go with your meal. Tomatoes and potatoes are also great sources of lutein. And don’t forget about your green leafies – kale, spinach, Swiss chard, collard, mustard greens, dill, parsley, and romaine lettuce are all good sources of lutein. In fact, this last batch of vegetables has the highest amounts of lutein.
Although fruits are generally not as lutein rice as vegetables are, there are some fruits that can still help you consume the lutein that your eyes need. Plums, prunes, peaches, pears, and kiwi fruit are all good sources of lutein. Apples, nectarines, tangerines, watermelon and oranges also contain small amounts of lutein. Watch out though, because canned fruits tend to contain less lutein than fresh fruits.
These lutein-rich foods are the primary way to combat both macular degeneration and cataracts. Adding fruits and vegetables containing lutein to your diet can only assist in keeping your vision strong and clear for the rest of your life.