Lutein and zeaxanthin are two types of carotenoids found in many green leafy plants and colourful fruits and vegetables. They are considered “the eye vitamins” which help protect your eyes from cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. They are powerful antioxidants which guard the body from the damaging effects of free radicals , particularly the free radicals caused by sunlight.
In nature, lutein and zeaxanthin have the ability to absorb excess light energy to prevent damage to plants from too much sunlight – especially from high-energy light rays called blue light. So when these protective phytonutrients enter our bodies, they act as our own light filter, protecting our eye tissues by absorbing damaging blue light and reducing glare. Yet again, the plant defence system becomes our own defence system.
In addition to important eye and vision benefits, lutein help protect against atherosclerosis (buildup of fatty deposits in arteries), the disease that leads to most heart attacks.
Foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin include kale, spinach, collards, turnip greens, spinach, corn, broccoli, carrots, orange pepper, kiwi fruit, grapes, orange juice, courgette (zucchini), and butternut squash.