15 Healthy Foods That Are High in Lutein

Lutein is a yellow-to-orange colored pigment that's related to vitamin A. Lutein is concentrated in the retinas of your eyes, so it's a necessary component of healthy vision. It also works as an antioxidant to reduce the damage done by free radicals and may support healthy blood vessels.

If you eat a diet with a sufficient amount of colorful fruits and vegetables, you should get ample amounts of lutein, but here are 15 of our favorite lutein-rich foods.

1

kale leaves on a cutting board
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Kale is remarkably high in so many nutrients. Besides lutein, kale is rich in calcium, vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin K and fiber, It's also low in calories—one cup of raw kale has only eight calories.

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2

Halved cooked acorn squash
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Winter squash, which includes varieties such as butternut, Hubbard, and acorn squash, are very high in lutein and vitamin A. They're also rich in potassium and contain substantial amounts of several vitamins and minerals. One cup of cubed cooked squash has six grams fiber and about 90 calories.

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3

Cooked collard greens in a serving bowl
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Like most greens, collards are rich in vitamins and minerals. Besides, lutein, beta-carotene and vitamin A, collards are particularly high in calcium and magnesium. They're also super-rich in vitamin K and they've got a plenty of vitamin C.

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4

ears of corn
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Yellow sweet corn is high in lutein and potassium, plus it has some fiber and B vitamins. Popcorn is also high in lutein and fiber. In fact, popcorn is considered a whole grain, so as long as it's not soaked in butter, popcorn can be a healthy snack.

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5

Fresh spinach leaves in colander on wood
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Spinach is another green leafy vegetable that's super good for you. It's rich in lutein, but it also has lots of iron, calcium, and potassium, vitamin, A, C, and K, plus fiber. It's also low in calories—only seven calories per cup of raw spinach leaves.

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6

Bunch of swiss chard with colorful stems on a wooden table
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Swiss chard is a leafy vegetable with colorful stems that's rich in lutein. One cup of chopped cooked chard has 35 little calories, but it's rich in calcium, iron, potassium, vitamins A, C, and K.  Swiss chard doesn't require a lot of effort to prepare—it can be boiled or sautéed with a little olive oil and white balsamic vinegar.

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7

bowl of peas
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Peas aren't the most exciting of all vegetables, but they're good for you. Not only are they high in lutein, they also offer magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc, B-complex vitamins and vitamin A.

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8
Arugula

Arugula in a wooden bowl
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Arugula (also known as rocket) is another green leafy vegetable that's high in lutein, and just about every vitamin and mineral. Arugula is super low in calories and is perfect for a salad base or wilted in a little bit of olive oil and garlic and served as a side dish. 

9

Brussels sprouts in a serving dish
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Besides having lots of lutein, Brussels sprouts are high in most vitamins and several minerals, plus they're high in dietary fiber. Brussels sprouts are also perfect for a weight loss diet with only 56 calories per cup.

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10
Broccoli Rabe

Wilted Broccoli rabe on a plate
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Broccoli rabe is high in lutein, vitamin A, folate, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin K. It's also a good source of fiber and not high in calories—about 28 calories per serving.

11

Roasted pumpkin in a serving dish
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Pumpkin's rich orange flesh is super high in lutein. It's also high in potassium. Pumpkin isn't high in calories unless you add tons of sugar—one cup of mashed pumpkin has about 50 calories.

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12

Softboiled egg cracked open in an egg cup
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Most of the time you'll get your lutein from plant sources, but one animal sourced food of note is egg yolk—that's what gives the yolk it's yellow color. Eggs are also a good source of protein.

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13

Raw sweet potato and knife on jute, wood
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Sweet potatoes are rich in lutein, vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium, manganese, vitamin C, and fiber. They're sweet and delicious and even picky eaters like them. Sweet potatoes are a terrific addition to any healthy diet.

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14

Carrots on a wooden table
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Carrots are high in lutein, beta-carotene, vitamins A, and C, plus they're a good source of several B vitamins, potassium, and manganese. They're also good for your diet—one cup of sliced carrots has about 50 calories.

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15

bunch of asparagus on a wooden table
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Asparagus is high in lutein plus many other nutrients including calcium and magnesium. It's also an excellent source of vitamins A, K, and C. Asparagus is low in calories too—one cup of cooked asparagus has about 40 calories.

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16
Lutein Supplements

Capsules and pills in shape of eye for lutein supplements.
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Researchers who studied lutein as part of the supplement formula used in the Age-Related Eye Disease study, using Twin Lab's Ocuvite, found large doses of lutein, combined with the dietary mineral zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and copper may help slow down the progression of macular degeneration (MD) and preserve vision in people who have early MD.

Unfortunately, lutein doesn't appear to have any effect on prevention or progression of cataracts, which is a condition where the lens of one or both eyes becomes cloudy.

View Article Sources
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  • National Institutes of Health, National Eye Institute. "Age-Related Eye Disease Study--Results." v.
  • United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28.