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. Several dark leafy green and yellow/orange vegetables are high in lutein.

Your body can't synthesize its own lutein, so you need to consume it in your diet. These 15 lutein-rich foods also offer other nutritious vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and, in most cases, fiber.

1

Kale

Kale

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Kale has a reputation as a health food for a reason. 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 8 calories.

2

Winter Squash

Butternut Squash

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Winter squash, which includes varieties such as butternut, Hubbard, and acorn squash, is very high in lutein and vitamin A. These squashes are also rich in potassium and contain substantial amounts of several other vitamins and minerals. One cup of cooked butternut squash has 6.5 grams of fiber and about 80 calories.

3

Collards

Collard Greens

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Like most leafy 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 have plenty of vitamin C.

4

Yellow Sweet Corn

Corn

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

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, and is a whole grain—making it a nutritious snack, as long as it's not soaked in butter or topped with too much salt.

5

Spinach

Spinach

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Spinach is another green leafy vegetable that's super good for you. It's rich in lutein as well as iron, calcium, and potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and fiber. It's also low in calories—only 7 calories per cup of raw spinach leaves.

6

Swiss Chard

Chard

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Swiss chard is yet another leafy green vegetable that's rich in lutein. A 1-cup serving of chopped cooked chard has just 35 calories, but it's a good source of calcium, iron, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K. Swiss chard doesn't require a lot of effort to prepare—boil it or sauté with a little olive oil and white balsamic vinegar.

7

Green Peas

Green peas

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Peas aren't the most exciting of vegetables, but they are nutrient-dense. Not only are they high in lutein, they also offer magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc, B-complex vitamins and vitamin A.

8

Arugula

Arugula in a bowl

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Arugula (also known as "rocket") is another green leafy vegetable that's high in lutein, and just about every other 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. 

9

Brussels Sprouts

Brussel sprouts

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Besides having lots of lutein, cruciferous Brussels sprouts are a good source of many other vitamins and several minerals. They're also high in dietary fiber and have only 56 calories per cup.

10

Broccoli Rabe

Broccoli rabe

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Broccoli rabe (also called broccoli raab or rapini) is high in lutein, vitamin A, folate, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin K. It's also a good source of fiber and very low in calories—about 9 calories per cup, raw.

11

Pumpkin

Roasted pumpkin in a serving dish
supermimicry / Getty Images

Pumpkin's rich orange flesh is super high in lutein. It's also high in potassium. Pumpkin also isn't high in calories unless you add a lot of sugar with 1 cup of plain mashed pumpkin offering about 50 calories.

12

Egg Yolks

Eggs

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Most of the time, you'll get your lutein from plant sources, but one animal source of note is egg yolk—lutein gives the yolk its yellow color. Eggs are also a good source of protein.

13

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potato

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Sweet potatoes are rich in lutein, vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium, manganese, vitamin C, and fiber. They're sweet, delicious, inexpensive, and easy to prepare (no marshmallows required; just roast like a baking potato).

14

Carrots

Carrots

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

You may have heard that carrots help you see better. They are high in lutein, beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin C, plus they're a good source of several B vitamins, potassium, and manganese. A 1-cup serving of sliced carrots has about 50 calories.

15

Asparagus

Asparagus

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Asparagus is high in lutein and 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—1 cup of cooked asparagus has about 40 calories.

A Note on Lutein Supplements

If you have certain medical needs or conditions, your doctor may recommend that you take a lutein supplement. Lutein is often paired with zeaxanthin, another antioxidant that's important for healthy vision.

As part of the Age-Related Eye Disease study, researchers found that large doses of lutein, combined with the 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.

Evidence that lutein can prevent or treat cataracts, however, is inconclusive according to a 2018 study, and more research is needed.

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