Are you having vision problems or blurry eyes after staring at a computer screen for long periods of time? Lutein might be a saving grace to help improve those troubled peepers and keep you with healthy eyes. Lutein is a dominant component in the cells of the retina, functioning as a light filter to protect the eyes from the sun and it is crucial for the eyes to see in color.
Macular Degeneration (MD), a serious eye disease created by damaged tissue, is the leading cause of blindness today. MD occurs when the macula, the part of the retina that controls vision, is damaged from aging or free radicals oxidizing. High concentrations of lutein in a diet have been found to slow down MD, as well as prevent it from attacking to keep your eyes healthy.
According to Foods That Fight Disease, “a dietary intake of 6 milligrams of lutein per day decreases your chances of developing age related macular degeneration by 43 percent.”
Other notable antioxidants that are known to improve the overall health of the yes are vitamin E, C, beta-carotene, zinc and copper.
What is Lutein?
Have you heard of a nutrient that is made by plants and acts as a sunscreen for the human eye when consumed? Lutein, a powerful antioxidant, helps protect health of the eyes from damaging high-energy rays the sun emits, through the absorption of excess light.
Lutein is part of the phytonutrient family called carotenoids, organic color pigments found in fruits and vegetables. High concentrations of lutein can be found in green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale or in lower concentrations of orange, red or yellow fruits and vegetables, like tangerines, oranges and yellow squash.
Here is a list of lutein rich foods courtesy of the American Macular Degeneration Foundation.
Most carotenoids help covert vitamin A into retinol, the main ingredient seen in many face and eye creams for its anti-aging properties, lutein is not one of them. Carotenoids are known to boost the immune system when fighting off infections, prevent heart disease, lower the risk of cancer, repair DNA damage, detoxify carcinogens and help in balancing estrogen levels in women.
Lutein is becoming an increasingly popular antioxidant in scientific research for its ability to fight and prevent certain cancers, macular degeneration of the eyes, cataracts, keeping your eyes healthy, as well as your overall cardiovascular health.
We are all born with cancer cells living inside of us; usually when manifested, the immune system wipes them out before they have a chance to grow. Lutein helps the immune system block malignant cancer cells from forming or spreading, by killing off harmful free radicals.
Lutein not only is a sunscreen for the eyes, it also protects the skin. Unlike normal sunscreens, Lutein works from the inside out, blocking out the harmful rays that damage the cells within.
According to Life Extension magazine, “Understanding the mechanism of action of lutein and zeaxanthin helps to explain their value for cancer prevention, cardiovascular health, and healthy eyes. Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants that destroy harmful free radicals generated by exposure to light causing oxidative damage to the eyes and skin. These xanthophylls provide protection against free radicals that can damage cells and DNA, and thus cause cancer.”
A great way to keep your heart healthy is to eat nutritionally sound foods that feed your body with the nourishment it needs to run properly. Heart disease is caused when artery walls become narrowed or blocked from aging or unhealthy diets.
Fatty deposits made up of excess LDL’s (bad cholesterol) are stored in the arteries and harden over time, leading to atherosclerosis. Once the artery narrows or is blocked, blood cannot flow properly to the heart, leading to many complications that the National Library of Medicine says also involves ‘intestines, kidneys, legs and brain’.
Diets high in lutein have been shown to keep the arteries clog free by reducing inflammation, oxidation of LDL’s and the amount of white blood cells drawn to the area that are responsible for the clogging process.
Top 15 Foods for HEALTHY EYES
Lutein is a powerful antioxidant essential to keep your eyes healthy, keeping your heart healthy and inhibiting cancer cells from forming. It assists the immune system in preventing, protecting and fighting against disease that is caused by free radical damage and inflammation.
Eating your daily rainbow is not just a saying, it is a reminder to feed the body a range of colors needed to keep you healthy. The pigment colors in fruits and vegetables provide a variety of beneficial necessary antioxidants. So next time while you are perusing the produce section at the grocery store, choose a rainbow to brighten your health.