Lutein: More Than Meets the Eyes
Better Nutrition|April 2021
Don’t pigeonhole this nutrient just for vision health—it’s equally great for preventing heart disease, boosting skin’s radiance, and more.
By Lisa Turner

You’ve probably heard about lutein and its protective effects on vision—but lutein’s benefits go far beyond the eyes. This plant pigment is abundant in leafy greens, especially spinach, chard, and collards, and it’s also found in other green vegetables and foods with a yellow-orange hue, including broccoli, corn, egg yolks, kiwi fruit, cantaloupe, and orange peppers. Part of a class of carotenoids called xanthophylls, lutein is a potent antioxidant with numerous health benefits. Here are the top five:

1.It’s Essential for Eye Health

Lutein is one of two primary carotenoids that make up the main pigments in the eye. It’s concentrated in the retina—a thin layer lining the back of the eye that contains photoreceptors, cells that send visual signals to the brain. In the eye, lutein is thought to work as a filter, shielding delicate tissues from harmful light, such as blue light and the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.

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