Macula degeneration is an eye disease that affects older adults and results in a loss of vision in the center of the visual field. Very small, fragile blood vessels begin to leak blood and fluid in the retina causing further damage and the macular degeneration progresses. It is still unknown why parts of the retina become diseased.
It has been shown that a combination of high-dose beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc can reduce the risk of progressing from early to advanced AMD by about 25 percent.
There is pigment in the macula that appears to act as a filter to protect the macular area against oxidation by light. Also this macular pigment can scavenge free radicals. In 2007, a study at the National Eye Institute, Maryland found that Lutein and zeaxanthin protect against macular degeneration. Lutein and zeaxanthin, two yellow colored antioxidants found in leafy greens like spinach and kale, are the predominant pigments in this area.
Eating foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin can lower your risk of macular degeneration.
To get the benefits of these antioxidants, some researchers believe you need to eat about 6 mg a day. But the amount of lutein and zeaxanthin needed to treat macular degeneration rises to about 11-12 mg per day. Because of the quality of diets these days it is estimated that a person only gets 1-2mg per day.
The best sources of Lutein and Zeaxanthin are:
- Kale and spinach
- Turnip and collard greens
- Romaine lettuce
- Brussels sprouts
- Egg yolk
By far the best source of lutein is in egg yolks. This source is superior because it is more easily absorbed by your body.
Lutein is an oil-soluble nutrient, so in order for the body to absorb it so try adding some fat like olive oil, butter, or coconut oil, to the leafy greens.