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

3D-model of Zeaxanthin (src)

Zeaxanthin is a non-provitamin A carotenoid and an antioxidant.

Zeaxanthin is one of the two primary xanthophyll carotenoids contained within the retina of the eye. The other is lutein.

Zeaxanthin is thought to protect cells in the eye against oxidative damage, seemingly protecting the eye and preventing cataracts.

Zeaxanthin is the name for the yellow pigment in corn and wheat that is a member of the carotenoid family of compounds. It is present in many fruits and vegetables.

Zeaxanthin can be used as a food additive, as food dye. But also in cosmetics.

Table of Contents

Zeaxanthin Is An Important Xanthophyll

Zeaxanthin is a carotenoid xanthophyll and is one of the most common carotenoids found in nature. (source )

Zeaxanthin is one of the two carotenoids, the other is lutein, that accumulate in the eye lens and macular region of the retina. (source )

Zeaxanthin Has Many Benefits

Zeaxanthin is an potent antioxidant, and it has a lot of beneficial effects. (source )

It seems to be able to protect the body against cancer and other diseases.

Zeaxanthin is beneficial for eye health, and one of its potential health benefits is the protection of eye cells from harmful light.

You can find all benefits in Zeaxanthin: 5 Research-Backed Benefits .

Because of the belief that zeaxanthin supports eye health, supplements are often taken.

Although there are no reported side effects from taking zeaxanthin supplements, the actual health effects of supplemented zeaxanthin are not proven.

Recommendation of Zeaxanthin

People who are at risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which causes gradual loss of vision, should consume at least a couple of servings of Zeaxanthin-rich foods every day.

Zeaxanthin In Food

Zeaxanthin is the pigment that gives corn, saffron, paprika and many other plants their yellow color.

It’s responsible for the taste and aroma of saffron. (source )

Zeaxanthin is also used as a food dye. (source )

Other uses of Zeaxanthin

Zeaxanthin is used as a feed additive to reduce the incidence of disease in chickens.

It is effective in reducing or preventing the effects of light induced damage to chickens.

Foods You Can Find Zeaxanthin In

Three yellow egg yolks in a bowl
Egg yolk contains zeaxanthin

You find Zeaxanthin 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 Zeaxanthin.

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

Sara Niemelä

co-founder Care Omnia, Head Content Creator

Author Image of Sara Niemelä

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.