Chances are you might have heard of lutein in television commercials, so you might know about its benefits–particularly for our eyes.  But understanding how lutein benefits our eyes, as well as knowing how much lutein we should take are keys to better eye health.

Lutein is a carotenoid and is concentrated in the macula–a small portion of the retina responsible for our central vision.  There are over 600 known carotenoids in nature (many of them in plants), and their function is to absorb blue light.  As we age, our lutein carotenoid concentration falls, resulting in poorer, more blurred vision.

So, one of the benefits of taking lutein, by either eating lutein-rich foods or taking lutein supplements, is better eye health as we age.  Some studies even show that age-related macular degeneration, otherwise known as AMD, can be delayed or completely avoided simply by having enough lutein.  The same is true for cataracts.

The benefits of lutein are not just limited to the elderly.  Lutein protects our eyes from environmental stresses, by playing a crucial role in protecting our eyes from sunlight by filtering out damaging ultraviolet light.  Lutein also protects eyes from damage in dark environments.

The benefits of lutein also go beyond eye health.  Studies show lutein may help prevent or slow down atherosclerosis–thickening of the arteries which could lead to heart disease.  Other studies show notable decreases in breast cancer among women of all nationalities.  Countless more studies show that having lutein in our diets contribute to our increased health and quality of life.

Now that you know of lutein’s benefits, you may be wondering where you can find it.  Fruits and vegetables are your best bet–carrots, squash, and other orange and yellow fruits and vegetables are the best sources of lutein.  Another great source is from green leafy vegetables–like spinach.

The problem is, with our fast-paced schedules, most of us may not have the time to prepare healthy, nutritious meals every day.  As a result, we may not eat enough of these fruits and vegetables to get the proper amount of lutein in our diets.

That’s why taking a good quality nutritional supplement every day is a must. The supplement I take contains lutein along with added active ingredients.  Just make sure that the supplement you take contains enough lutein.  Studies show better eye health with as little as 6 milligrams of lutein per day.

Of course, the more lutein in your diet, the better your visual and general health will be.




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