Navigating the world of supplements can be confusing, especially when it comes to knowing which ones are right for you.
One nutrient that has a host of benefits and is perhaps less known, even to those avid supplement-takers, is Lutein. If you’re new to this beneficial nutrient, read on to discover the health benefits of and the easy ways you can increase your lutein intake.
What is Lutein?
One of 600 naturally occurring carotenoids (a pigment found in plants), lutein is taken from the Latin word luteus meaning yellow. It can’t be synthesized by your body, only plants, and it plays a key role in delivering antioxidants to the body. To ensure the body has a sufficient amount, it’s recommended lutein is included in your diet, either through food or supplements.
Lutein is commonly paired with zeaxanthin, which is another antioxidant with similar health benefits.
The Benefits of Lutein
Lutein is a necessary component of healthy vision. Responsible for the yellow hue of the retina’s macula, when combined with zeaxanthin, lutein helps to filter blue light and maintain a healthy eye function.
Incorporating a high intake of lutein can help the health of your eye and work to improve age-related vision loss, including cataracts and macular degeneration. Aside from eye health, lutein may also help to support the following health benefits:
• Increased cognitive performance
• Reduction in damage caused by free radicals
• Healthy blood vessels
• Improved skin tone and signs of ageing
When accompanied by zeaxanthin, another carotenoid, both antioxidants protect your skin cells from UV rays.
What Foods Are Rich in Lutein?
Lutein is commonly found in fruit and vegetables that are in vibrant shades of yellow, orange, and green. Excellent sources of lutein are broccoli, brussels sprouts, peas, peppers and squash.
But if you’re looking for more variety to switch your meals up, here are some of our favourite lutein-rich foods:
Kale is an excellent source of nutrition. In just 100g of raw kale, there are around 18mg of lutein. Cooking will reduce this number by half, but this is still a significant amount of lutein for your diet.
Kale is also rich in other nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, beta-carotene, and fibre.
Another leafy green, spinach is abundant in iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, calcium, and fibre; providing an excellent foundation for a healthy diet.
Unlike kale, cooking enhances the lutein content of spinach, 100g of spinach goes from 12mg of lutein to up to 19mg.
Taking its bright yellow colour from the pigment found in lutein, one cup of sweetcorn provides 3.6mg of lutein. Sweetcorn is also a good source of potassium and vitamin B.
Carrots prove that there is some truth to their sight-enhancing claims, with 100g of raw carrot equating to around 0.6mg of lutein.
The root vegetable also contains vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, potassium, manganese, and beta-carotene.
Deviating from the typical plant-based lutein sources, egg yolks are a good source of lutein. The amount of lutein can differ from egg to egg, but as a rough guide, each yolk contains around 0.1mg.
As eggs are high in healthy fats, the lutein they contain is easily absorbed by your body.
Top Tip: To improve your body’s absorption of lutein and zeaxanthin, use a healthy fat like olive oil when cooking.
How Can I Increase My Lutein Intake?
Supplements are a great way to top up your lutein levels. Our Puritan’s Pride Lutein 20mg Softgels and Puritan’s Pride Lutein 40mg Softgels are an easy way to boost your lutein intake alongside food sources. Both of our supplements pair lutein with zeaxanthin for added nutrition.
For more advice on how to include Lutein in your routine read our guide on when and how to take your vitamins: