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Lutein: Are You Getting Enough?

Lutein, a yellow-colored carotenoid (also found in non-yellow foods) is a powerful antioxidant and may help fight everything from cancer to aging. Carotenoids are organic pigments found in chloroplasts and chromoplasts of plants as well as some other photosynthetic organisms.  Beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein and the most studied of the carotenoids.

Lutein is found in a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, but it appears that the best source of lutein is from egg yolks, comply because it is more readily absorbed by the body.  Other lutein-rich foods are kale, spinach, turnip greens, collard greens, romaine lettuce, broccoli, zucchini, garden peas and brussels sprouts.  Of course, always pastured eggs, and local or organic veggies to insure the cleanest source of this

Lutein is know to be protective in eye disease because it can absorb damaging blue light that enters the eye.  Cataracts and macular degeneration are two of the most common age-related eye disorders in the US.  Lutein forms the yellow pigment of the retina and protects against light-induced oxidative damage.

A study at USC found that people with the highest levels of lutein had no increase in plaque in their arteries after 18 months.

Lutein appears to protect the aging brain according to USDA’s Human Nutrition Research Lab at Tufts University.  Spinach, rich in lutein, is one of five super foods to keep your mind sharp.

Research suggests that just 6-10 mg of lutein daily may provide enough antioxidants to reduce oxidative damage to the skin.

Though conclusive studies are still being sought, lutein is thought to increase the death rate of cancer cells and to decrease the growth of blood vessels that supply tumors and may cause changes in the way DNA is repaired.

People who eat the most lutein have the ‘younger’ lungs, by one to two years, than people who don’t.  Smokers and ex-smokers, take heed.  This comes from research at the State University of NY at Buffalo.

The National Institutes of Health have found that people with the highest levels of lutein were about 70 percent less likely to have arthritis of the knee.


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