Please remember to always consult your GP before making any changes to your diet and before taking supplements!
Lutein - often known as "the eye nutrient" but has many more health and skin benefits.
Lutein, related to beta-carotene and vitamin A, is a phytochemical that has profound antioxidant effects.
Phytochemicals are chemicals present in plants that protect the plants against bacteria, viruses and fungi. These phytochemicals are also important for human health acting as antioxidants or nutrient protectors or prevent against cancer.
Lutein helps prevent against macular degeneration and cataracts. A study at Florida International University concluded that eyes that had high Lutein levels were 80% less likely to suffer from degenerative eye disease and cataracts.
It is also important to highlight that Lutein reduces heart disease, breast cancer, colon cancer and type II diabetes
A study at the University of Southern California showed that high Lutein levels in the blood reduced and prevented levels of plaque forming in arteries, therefore significantly reducing heart attacks
Lutein and Skin Health:
Dr Pierfrancesco Morgarti, Professor of Applied Cosmetic Dermatology at University Naples conducted a study that showed that high Lutein levels:
increased skin hydration by 50%,
increased elasticity by 20%,
increased skin lipid (fat) layer by 60%. The lipid layer is crucial in forming a protective barrier to prevent the skin from damage by free radicals, in particular UV rays from sunlight. This results in Lutein being crucial in protecting the skin from ageing and prevents pigmentation as a result of sun exposure.
The body doest not make Lutein and must come from your diet.
The great thing about Lutein, is that it is heat stable and can withstand and survive cooking!
Lutein is found in
Orange bell peppers
It is crucial that Lutein rich foods are eaten with a meal containing fat, for example, drizzle olive oil on your vegetables, as this maximises the absorption of Lutein when eaten with a small amount of fat.
A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that eating 1 teaspoon of green leafy vegetables with a small amount of fat raised blood Lutein levels by an astonishing 90%!