When it comes to your vision, you should consider the types of foods you consume to promote healthy eyesight. Adding certain nutrients to your diet every day – through either foods or supplements – can help save your vision. Check out these tips from LasikPlus on how lutein and zeaxanthin affect your vision, and what you can do to increase your intake of these helpful nutrients:
- What Are Lutein and Zeaxanthin? These nutrients are carotenoids (naturally occurring pigments) that can filter harmful high-energy blue wavelengths of light. They act as an antioxidant in the eye, helping protect and maintain healthy cells.
- Predicting Disease: Researchers have linked lutein and zeaxanthin to reducing the risk of certain eye diseases. The quantity of these nutrients in the retina can measure macular pigment optical density (MPOD). Recent studies1 have shown that MPOD levels are closely associated with brain function in older adults, and demonstrate that lutein and zeaxanthin improve visual performance in patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataract patients, and even those individuals with good health.
- How to Increase Your Intake: Daily intake of lutein and zeaxanthin through diet, nutritional supplements, or fortified foods and beverages is important for healthy eyes. Although there is no recommended daily intake, most recent studies show a health benefit for lutein supplementation at 10 mg/day and zeaxanthin supplementation at 2/mg a day. Some foods to work into your diet that have high levels of these nutrients include kale (1 cup = 23.8mg), spinach (1 cup = 20.4mg), collard greens (1 cup = 14.6mg), and turnip greens (1 cup = 12.2mg).
While many different foods can make up a healthy diet, it is important to focus on nutrients that will improve your visual wellbeing. Since the human body does not naturally synthesize the lutein and zeaxanthin it needs, green vegetables are essential to a balanced, vision-boosting diet.
1 Age Ageing, Vishwanathan, R; Iannaccone, A, Vol 43. Issue 2, March 2014