Maintain Your Eye Health with Zeaxanthin
You’ve probably heard about the phytonutrient beta-carotene, but have you heard of zeaxanthin? (Pronounced zee-uh-zan-thin).
Zeaxanthin belongs to the carotenoid family of phytonutrients! It is found in dark green vegetables, orange and yellow fruits, and egg yolks. Zeaxanthin and lutein are the two phytonutrients you can find in the eye, thus they are associated with eye health.
First things first though, we need to talk about how to get the benefits of zeaxanthin. Nutrients—including vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals—can often be isolated or synthetic. These don’t even come close to natural nutrients in their whole food state; they are not the same. We believe in the synergistic effect of all phytonutrients. Read our helpful resource about how they are different and why natural nutrients, as opposed to isolated or synthetic, are safer and much more beneficial.
Ever heard carrots are good for your eyes? Are there other foods that also benefit the eyes? Zeaxanthin gives paprika, saffron, and corn their pigment. In addition to carrots, it has also been found in cantaloupe, pasta, peppers, fish, eggs, dark leafy greens, peas, summer squash, pumpkin, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, lettuce, and pistachios.
Zeaxanthin contributes to good eye health. According to Nutrients, it protects the macula from blue light damage, improves visual acuity, and scavenges harmful reactive oxygen species.
The Annual Review of Nutrition explains that zeaxanthin is most abundant in the macula’s central fovea and retina of the eye. There’s about 10 percent in the ciliary body and 75 percent in the active lens tissue of the epithelial/cortical lens layers. The ciliary body is the tissue responsible for aqueous humor formation.
Carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin of the macula are responsible for absorbing anywhere between 40 and 90 percent of blue light, which protects the retina. They also act as antioxidants, reducing oxidative damage by absorbing light.
Carotenoids might also play a role in cell communication. Zeaxanthin is also found in the inner plexiform layer, neural retina, and brain. It has been suggested that exposure to zeaxanthin, as well as lutein, in fetal life and infancy is important for visual development and vision throughout life. Many carotenoids, including zeaxanthin, are present in breast milk.
The Last Bite
Zeaxanthin is a carotenoid that may support eye health. Foods rich in zeaxanthin include dark leafy greens, eggs, cantaloupe, carrots, peas, summer squash, pumpkin, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, and many more! Always eat your Balance of Nature for an abundant supply of beneficial fruits and vegetables!