What Are Lutein and Zeaxanthin & What Foods Can I Find It In?

Lutein and Zeaxanthin are together called xanthophylls.

They are the carotenoids that are found in the eyes it accumulates in the retina of the eye.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin are classified as non-provitamin A carotenoids.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin are found in a wide variety of vegetables and fruits, especially in leafy green vegetables.

Table of Contents

Lutein and Zeaxanthin For Eye Health

Lutein and Zeaxanthin are the two major carotenoids in the human macula and retina.

They are often referred to together as xanthophylls, or macular pigment. (source )

Macular degeneration

Macular degeneration is a major cause of vision loss in people over the age of fifty.

It is estimated that, in the United States, approximately 1.75 million people have macular degeneration.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are macular pigments that may play a role in reducing the development and progression of age-related macular degeneration.

Lutein and zeaxanthin intake, in whole food or supplemental form, increases serum concentrations, which in turn increases macular pigment density.

Specific benefits of lutein and zeaxanthin

If you are interested in all the benefits lutein possesses, you can check them out in Lutein: 7 Research-Backed Benefits .

Or you can find the benefits that Zeaxanthin has in Zeaxanthin: 5 Research-Backed Benefits .

Lutein and Zeaxanthin Are Xanthophylls

Xanthophylls are widely distributed in nature and are common in plants. (source )

Our body cannot synthesize xanthophylls, therefore they need to be added through the diet. (source )

Xanthophylls are known to act as accessory pigments in the photosynthetic process, and they are also known to possess antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin In Food

Xanthophylls are found in a wide variety of vegetables and fruits. There are especially high concentrations in leafy green vegetables. (source )

But fruits and vegetables of various colors can be consumed to increase the dietary intake of xanthophylls. (source )

Foods You Can Find Lutein and Zeaxanthin In

You find Lutein and Zeaxanthin mostly in spices, herbs, 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.

If you are interested in what foods contain the most Lutein and Zeaxanthin, we recommend you visit our tool.

Here's our top-ranked list of foods that contain Lutein + Zeaxanthin.

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.