The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin are selectively absorbed by the macula of the eye in order to protect one from developing diseases like macular degeneration. A new study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association seeks to measure lutein and zeaxanthin consumption by age, sex, and ethnicity.
Among all age groups, both sexes, and all ethnicities, intakes of lutein were greater than of zeaxanthin. Zeaxanthin to lutein ratios in Mexican Americans was considerably greater than other ethnicities (other Hispanics, non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, other races). Lower zeaxanthin to lutein ratios were measured in groups at risk for age-related macular degeneration (e.g., older participants, women). The authors of this study state that their findings “suggest that the relative intake of lutein and zeaxanthin may be important to age-related macular degeneration risk.”
Green vegetables such as kale, spinach, turnip greens, collard greens, romaine lettuce, broccoli, zucchini, garden peas and brussel sprouts are among the best sources of lutein and zeaxanthin. For more on food sources of nutrients, visit our website.