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Diet rich in lutein boosts eyes, brain health

A new research has suggested that consuming fruits and vegetables that contain a compound called lutein could pave the way to healthier eyes and brain. According to the findings of a study published in the journal ‘Nutrition Reviews,’ lutein, the antioxidant- rich phytochemical is absorbed into eye and brain tissue.

There, it reduces the consumer’s risk for cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and it compresses inflammation and potentially damaging free radicals in the brain. AMD is an eye disease that may get worse over time. It’s the leading cause of severe, permanent vision loss in people over age 60. It happens when the small central portion of the retina, called the macula, wears down. The retina is the light-sensing nerve tissue at the back of the eye. Because the disease happens in old age, it’s often called age-related macular degeneration. It usually doesn’t cause blindness but might cause severe vision problems.

Lutein is synthesized only by plants, and like other xanthophylls, is found in high quantities in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and yellow carrots. Lutein is a type of vitamin called a carotenoid.

It is related to beta-carotene and Vitamin A. Foods rich in lutein include egg yolks, broccoli, spinach, kale, corn, orange, pepper, kiwi fruit, grapes, orange juice, zucchini, and squash.

In short, higher levels of lutein are related to better visual health and better cognitive performance, reported the ‘Newsmax’. According to the report, to boost one’s lutein, an individual should opt for bright red, yellow, and orange vegetables such as summer squash, pumpkin, broccoli, carrots, and tomatoes (cook them to make their lutein more bioavailable), as well as leafy greens like kale and spinach.

If you’re at risk for or have age-related macular degeneration or cataracts, talk to your doctor about taking a lutein supplement, added the report. But there’s a lot more lutein in food than is usually contained in supplements. For instance, the researchers stated that there’s 44 mg of lutein in a cup of cooked kale and 26 mg in a cup of cooked spinach — and taking the nutrient along with other phytochemicals in vegetables may be the most beneficial way to get lutein

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