Lutein and zeaxanthin for healthy eyes
Both belonging to xanthophylls, lutein and zeaxanthin add yellow pigment to plants and vegetables, making them appear orange in the fruits or leaves. Experts point out that lutein and zeaxanthin also occur in the lens and retina of human eyes. These two compounds can protect our eyes from free radicals’ damage, which causes oxidation. Lutein and zeaxanthin in the lens and retina also filter out harmful blue light, protecting underlying cell layers.
The Age-Related Eye Disease Study recommends antioxidants such as beta-carotene, vitamin C and E, and zinc and copper for macular and cataracts prevention. Studies also show that lutein and zeaxanthin in vegetables and fruits can protect people from these two diseases. And in contrast, insufficient fruits and vegetables consumption may increase the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
People can get lutein and zeaxanthin nutrients from many sources. Dark, green leafy vegetables like kale, green leaf lettuce, and beet greens have large amount of lutein and zeaxanthin. Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables such as squash, peaches, sweet potatoes and carrots can also provide plentiful lutein and zeaxanthin. A healthy diet including enough lutein and zeaxanthin should contain nine servings of colorful fruits and vegetables each day. Necessarily, pre-washing of fruits and vegetables can remove potential bacteria. Lack of greens and fruits, carotenoids can be alternative.
Although some experts favor a healthy diet for these beneficial nutrients, various supplements that contain lutein and zeaxanthin are also helpful. The key point is that lutein and zeaxanthin supplements should never replace a normal, healthy diet. In addition, certain supplements may cause adverse reactions in some people.
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