Nutrition Info Just for You

January 15, 2020

The Eyes Have It: Everything You Need to Know About Lutein

Do your eyes ever feel like they need a vacation? With everything our eyes do, our peepers can feel busy and tired. And as we age, our eyes are even more prone to that busy, overworked feeling. Luckily, you can help promote eye health for busy eyes by adding lutein to your diet. Keep reading to learn more about lutein and other vitamins such as vitamin A that help support your eyes.

What Is Lutein?

Lutein is what scientists call a carotenoid. Carotenoids are organic pigments produced by plants and algae. In fact, carotenoids are what make carrots, squash and sweet potatoes orange! Carotenoids contain antioxidants and vitamin A, which play an important role in our body’s functions.

Two of these plant carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, are particularly important for eye health. Lutein and zeaxanthin hang out in our retinas, with the highest concentration in the macula. The macula is the functional center of the retina. It basically gives us the ability to see in high-def. Lutein plays an important role in helping the macula to do its job.

Unfortunately, humans can’t create these macular pigments on their own. We just don’t have the equipment! And these pigments can slowly decrease with age.

That’s why it’s a good idea to consume lutein either through supplements or the foods we eat. Experts recommend consuming 10 mg of lutein each day to protect the retina, support eye health and promote sharper vision in low light.

The Benefits of Lutein

Lutein has a couple key benefits for the eyes, including:

  • Protects the retina by absorbing blue light
  • Promotes sharper vision in low light conditions

How to Get More Lutein From the Foods You Eat

Eating your greens is the best way to get more lutein in your diet. Cooked greens pack the most lutein punch per cup. Here are some other lutein-rich foods, and our favorite ways to cook them.

Kale

One cup of cooked kale contains a whopping 23.8 mg of lutein! Prepare it by sautéing kale with 2 garlic cloves in 3 tablespoons of olive oil.

Spinach

Have you ever tried adding sautéed spinach to scrambled eggs? It’s the perfect way to add lutein to your breakfast, since one cup of cooked spinach contains 20.4 mg lutein. And eggs are also a good source of lutein.

But a cup of raw spinach also contains lutein as well. Try swapping iceberg lettuce for nutrient-rich spinach in salads and sandwiches.

Collard Greens

Collard greens aren’t just a delicious staple of Southern comfort food. They’re also really good for your eyes because of their lutein content. In fact, one cup of cooked collard greens contains 14.6 mg of lutein.

To make collards at home, start by sautéing the greens with olive oil and a chopped onion. Add 3 cups of chicken broth along with salt, ground black pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. Let them simmer for 45 minutes on low heat until the greens are tender. YUM!

If you don’t love cooked greens, other sources of lutein include green peas, corn and carrots.

The Other Eye Health Vitamin: Vitamin A

If you want to show your peepers some love, vitamin A is also a key nutrient to promote eye health in both kids and adults. For grownups, vitafusion Women’s Multivitamin or Men’s Multivitamin; vitafusion Gorgeous Hair, Skin & Nails; vitafusion Platinum 50+; and vitafusion PreNatal are all an excellent source of vitamin A. And for littler peepers, L’il Critters™ Gummy Vites™ Complete contains vitamin A for eye support. Plus, all vitafusion and L’il Critters gummies have a tasty fruit flavor that adults and kids love, so you’ll want to take these vitamins to support eye health.*

We love sharing our insights about vitamins and health. But that doesn’t mean it should be a substitute for professional medical advice. For that, you should talk to your doctor!

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Published by Colleen Welsch

Colleen Welsch has been writing about women's nutrition, health, fitness, and the clean beauty industry for many years. Born and raised in Ohio, Colleen recently returned to the U.S. after spending a year in Spain. In her spare time, Colleen loves traveling and petting dogs.

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