Foods High in Lutein

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Spinach is a good source of lutein. (Image: Zedcor Wholly Owned/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Eating a lutein-rich diet may reduce your risk of developing the chronic eye diseases macular degeneration and cataracts, according the American Optometric Association. Lutein and zeaxanthin, two types of antioxidants called carotenoids, are typically found in the same food sources. They both help protect your eyes from harmful wavelengths of light and neutralize damaging free radicals in the retina of your eyes. Studies suggest that consuming at least 10 milligrams of lutein per day provides vision-protecting benefits. Fruits and vegetables provide the most lutein per serving.

Leafy Greens

Spinach
Bowl of spinach (Image: Dušan Zidar/iStock/Getty Images)

Some of the highest lutein-containing foods are leafy green vegetables, according to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation. Raw kale provides the most lutein per serving. Spinach, turnip greens and collard greens also provide you with a good source of lutein. If you prefer a lettuce, romaine lettuce supplies small amounts of lutein as well. Consider eating a raw salad made from some of these greens for lunch or serve lightly steamed greens as a side dish with dinner. Cooking kale or turnip greens with brown rice or quinoa also makes a hearty lutein-rich side.

Cruciferious Vegetables

Fresh brussels sprout
Fresh brussels sprouts (Image: tashka2000/iStock/Getty Images)

Cruciferous vegetables are another category of vegetables that are high in lutein. This group includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage. Eating half a cup of cooked broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage or cauliflower helps you the recommended daily lutein intake. To increase your intake of these vegetables, add them to stir fries or vegetable dishes. Brussels sprouts roasted with a small amount of black pepper, salt and lemon makes a nutritious accompaniment to any meal.

Starchy Vegetables

Fresh zucchini
Sliced zucchini on cutting board (Image: bit245/iStock/Getty Images)

Some starchy vegetables also provide lutein. A cup of cooked corn, half a cup of cooked peas or a cup of raw green beans all contain lutein. Squash, such as zucchini, also provide a small amount of lutein. Squash are great for making thick soups. Add corn and peas to chili, vegetable soups and casseroles for extra lutein. Serve steamed green beans as a side dish or eat them raw as a salad topping. All of these lutein-containing foods are also easy to grow in a home vegetable garden.

Fruits

peaches
Bowl of peaches (Image: SVETLANA KOLPAKOVA/iStock/Getty Images)

You'll also get a small amount of lutein from eating fresh fruit. Oranges, melons, peaches, grapefruit, kiwi and grapes all supply lutein. Although the concentration of lutein is not as high in fruit, eating the recommended 2 cups of fruit per day helps you increase your lutein intake. Consider using these fruits as a snack or use a variety to make a refreshing fruit salad. Fruit juice also contains lutein, but to avoid unnecessary sugar, look for all-natural, no sugar-added fruit juices.

Eggs

Eggs
Basket filled with brown eggs (Image: Tharakorn/iStock/Getty Images)

You'll also get a small amount of lutein from eating fresh fruit. Oranges, melons, peaches, grapefruit, kiwi and grapes all supply lutein. Although the concentration of lutein is not as high in fruit, eating the recommended 2 cups of fruit per day helps you increase your lutein intake. Consider using these fruits as a snack or use a variety to make a refreshing fruit salad. Fruit juice also contains lutein, but to avoid unnecessary sugar, look for all-natural, no sugar-added fruit juices.

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