What Is Lutein & What Foods Can I Find It In?

3D-model of Lutein Good For Your Eyes (src)

Lutein is a xanthophyll and a non-provitamin A carotenoid with anti-inflammatory properties.

There is a lot of evidence that shows that lutein has several beneficial effects, especially on eye health.

Just like the other primary xanthophyll carotenoids, zeaxanthin.

Lutein is concentrated in the macula.

The macula is a small area of the retina responsible for three-color vision.

Lutein is found in high concentration in egg yolk and corn.

Table of Contents

Lutein, A Xanthophyll With Many Health Benefits

Lutein is a xanthophyll, which is an oxygenated carotenoid.

It has a similar structure to other carotenoids. (source )

Lutein is a natural, colorless pigment that is an essential component of the macula, the part of the retina responsible for central vision.

Lutein is the predominant carotenoid found in the macula.

It is also a major component of the human retina.

Why lutein is so important

Lutein is important because it is the only one of the three major carotenoids present in the diet that can be converted into vitamin A in the body.

Vitamin A is a nutrient that is important for many biological processes in the body.

The best known role for vitamin A is in the eye. Vitamin A is required for the proper growth, differentiation, and function of the eye.

Benefits Of Lutein

Lutein is a well-known antioxidant with several health benefits and is for instance used in the management of oxidative stress-related diseases. (source )

Lutein is an antioxidant and has been shown to protect retinal cells from photo-oxidative damage.

Lutein is also thought to be involved in immune modulation.

You can find more benefits of lutein in Lutein: 7 Research-Backed Benefits .

Important To get Enough Lutein

We are not able to synthesize carotenoids and therefore need to include them in our diet. (source )

Iron, zinc, and protein deficiencies may affect the absorption of lutein. (source )

How To Get Lutein?

Foods with a high content of lutein are egg yolk and maize (corn). (source )

There are also substantial amounts of lutein in the green leafy vegetables and some fruits such as avocado and kiwifruit, grapes, spinach, orange juice, zucchini, and different kinds of squash. (source )

In a well-balanced diet, lutein intake should be sufficient.

But supplementation of lutein can be necessary if our diet doesn't provide us with enough.

Also, in the presence of inadequate absorption or chronic diseases supplementation might be considered. (source )

Foods You Can Find Lutein In

Three yellow egg yolks in a bowl
Fresh egg yolk is a good source of lutein

You find Lutein mostly in dairy, egg, and vegetable products.

Examples of food sources include

Foods in our nutrition tool

You can find regularly updated top-ranked lists of foods for over 200+ nutrients in our nutrition tool.

We currently have just a few foods in our nutrition tool that contain Lutein.

Here's our short list of foods that contain Lutein.

Sara Niemelä

co-founder Care Omnia, Head Content Creator

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Nutrition is my passion. I've spent thousands upon thousands of hours reading, analyzing, categorizing and comparing research studies.

I’m a wife and a mother of three. I enjoy the outdoors, cooking, and spending time with my family.