I have been seeing the word "lutein" a lot lately, but honestly had no idea what it was. So, I decided to do a little research. It's something called a carotenoid, which is a naturally-occurring pigment found in plants and even some types of fungus and bacteria. Lutein is pretty easy to spot since it adds color to red, orange, yellow, and green fruits and vegetables, like tomatoes, berries, carrots, and squash. High sources of lutein are found in leafy green veggies like kale and spinach.
Now you know where to find it, but I bet you want to know why you should be eating it. Lutein is necessary for healthy vision and can be found in the retinas of your eyes. Getting enough lutein in your diet can lower your risk of developing cataracts. Lutein has also slows down the thickening of arterial walls, helping to prevent cardiovascular disease. Not only that, but getting enough lutein can increase skin hydration and elasticity, so it's good for your skin's health as well.
It's recommended to eat between 4 and 10 mg of lutein a day. How do you get enough? A 1/2 a cup of cooked broccoli has .8 mg, 1 cup of raw spinach has 3.7 mg, 1 cup of cooked kale has 23.7 mg, and 1 cup of romaine lettuce has 1.1 mg of lutein. So make sure to include lots of green veggies in your diet, and your eyes, heart, and skin will thank you.