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Are Lutein and Zeaxanthin Important for Eye Health?

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Doctors believe lutein and zeaxanthin play a key role in healthy vision. Not only can you find these potent antioxidants in many vegetables, they are also in your eyes, especially the lens, retina, and macula.

Studies suggest that a high level of both of these key vitamins in eye tissue is linked with better vision especially in dim light or where glare is a problem. Lutein and zeaxanthin can help protect your eyes from harmful high-energy light waves like ultraviolet rays in sunlight.

Another study showed that if you have macular degeneration, which causes damage to the middle of your retina and can take away your central vision, supplements with lutein and zeaxanthin can slow its progress. Diets rich in these two nutrients may help hold off age-related eye diseases. For example, one study found that people who ate foods rich in zeaxanthin -- think “green veggies” like spinach, kale, and broccoli -- may be half as likely to get cataracts.

Many studies combine these two nutrients with others such as vitamins  C and E. It may be that the mix of nutrients does more for your eyes than any single one of them.

It is always best to take the preventative approach but it's not too your eyes a favor and eat your leafy greens!

Foods With Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Kale (1 cup) 23.8 mg

Spinach (1 cup) 20.4 mg

Collard greens (1 cup) 14.6 mg

Turnip greens (1 cup) 12.2 mg

Broccoli (1 cup) 1.6 mg