There are many good sources of lutein to be found in a balanced diet. For example, a variety of raw and cooked foods, such as kale and spinach, are excellent sources of lutein. For people in a hurry or for picky eaters, one of the simplest ways to consume lutein is through supplements and vitamins that contain it as an ingredient. In addition, some companies produce foods and drinks that are fortified or enriched with lutein. Lutein also can be found in some topical products, such as eye drops and ointments.
Lutein is a carotenoid, or a naturally occurring pigment, that occurs in some foods, such as kale, spinach and the yolks of eggs. For example, one cup of cooked kale contains 23.7 milligrams of lutein, and one cup of spinach contains 20.4 milligrams of lutein. Eggs, oranges, and broccoli each contain lutein as well. Many people may be able to eat enough foods containing lutein to satisfy their daily recommended dosage, which is between four and ten milligrams per day. Some people, however, may struggle to consume even a small percentage of the daily recommended dosage and those individuals may need to search out other sources of lutein.
For people who do not consume enough lutein in their daily diet to cover the recommended dosage, certain vitamins and supplements may be good lutein sources. Although it is found in many supplements and vitamins, such as multivitamins and vision supplements, it is important to study the labels to see the amount of lutein that is contained in the supplement or vitamin. For example, some products may contain well over the daily recommended dosage of lutein, while others may contain only negligible amounts or none at all. In addition, there are topical drops and ointments containing lutein that can be applied externally to the eyes and the skin.
Lutein cannot be made by the body, so finding sources of lutein is important. It works to fight free radicals in the body that can cause cancer and other diseases. In addition, it has been proven to reduce the chances of a serious eye condition called macular degeneration. As consumers become more aware of the fact that lutein may prevent eye disease and skin cancer, they have begun to search out foods and drinks that are fortified with lutein. Some companies have begun to manufacture and market lutein-fortified products, such as chocolates, energy bars, and juice. In certain cases, these fortified foods only contain minimal amounts of lutein, so it is important to read the label before buying these products.