Did you grow up learning that eating carrots would help you see better? Read on to learn more about the science behind lutein.
What are Carotenoids?
Carotenoids are phytonutrients that create the pigment in yellow, orange, and red fruits and vegetables. Their primary function is absorbing light energy for photosynthesis, but they also work to neutralize free radicals – loose single molecules of oxygen – making them powerful antioxidants as well. Carotenoids deliver many benefits to the body, including supplying Vitamin A and acting as an anti-inflammatory nutrient.
Lutein is a carotenoid closely related to zeaxanthin, and the two of them deliver more benefits to the body when they work together.
Lutein and Eye Health
Similarly to the way they supply pigment to fruits and vegetables, both lutein and zeaxanthin constitute the yellow pigment in the retina that protects the eye from blue light damage and oxidation.
They also have been found to reduce the risk of chronic eye dieseases and conditions including macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, eye detachment and an inflammatory condition called uveitis.
Other Benefits of Lutein
Lutein and zeaxanthin’s antioxidative properties also apply to the skin. Maintaining high levels of the carotenoids can help protect your skin from sun damage and can improve skin tone and elasticity, slowing the aging process and giving you more glowy, youthful-looking skin. Some studies suggest that lutein and zeaxanthin can even improve brain health!
While lutein supplements are available, the best way to make sure you’re getting enough of this powerful antioxidant in your diet is to fill your plate with lutein-rich foods. Despite creating the pigments in warm colored fruits and vegetables, it is actually found in higher concentrations in leafy green vegetables. Get a healthy dose of antioxidants from foods like kale, spinach and broccoli, as well as:
- Honeydew melon
- Egg yolks
Antioxidants in a Snap
Get your antioxidant fix quick without the trip to the store when you order nutritionist-developed dishes made by real chefs from Snap Kitchen. We recommend trying our Chicken Tinga with Fire Roasted Corn in your first order! Learn more about the nutrients your body needs and what foods you can eat to get them by reading more articles on the Snap Blog.