(Natural News) Vegetables with the carotenoid lutein, such as carrots and kale, are often consumed because they can help improve eye health. However, the results of a study have revealed that lutein is also good for the heart.
Lutein: A carotenoid that can keep your heart healthy
Lutein is crucial for eye health, and the carotenoid can protect your eyes. Consuming foods rich in lutein can help minimize your risk of developing both cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, the two main causes of age-related blindness.
Nutritionists know that lutein can also enhance eye and vision health since it provides structural support for the macula pigment of the eyes. Additionally, the carotenoid helps minimize inflammation in eye tissue. Lutein can also protect your eyes from oxidative stresses caused by air and light exposure.
Dr. Elizabeth Leermakers decided to look into “lutein’s positive effects against inflammation and oxidative stresses in the eyes,” and together with a team of researchers, she searched for links between the presence of lutein (or a lack of the carotenoid) and diseases caused by stressors like heart attack, metabolic syndrome, and stroke.
Metabolic syndrome is the term for a set of conditions that include abdominal obesity, elevated blood pressure, high blood triglycerides, and fasting glucose levels, and low levels of good (HDL) cholesterol.
For the study, the scientists examined current research pertaining to lutein. When they began, the researchers gathered 4,377 studies, which were then narrowed down to 71 of the most relevant studies. The researchers assessed data gleaned from more than 387,000 individuals.
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The findings highlighted significant connections between lutein and cardiometabolic diseases. Individuals who had higher levels of the carotenoid in their bloodstream often had a lower risk of coronary heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and stroke. (Related: What’s up, doc? Carrots are one of the best foods to eat if you have heart problems.)
The researchers also found that volunteers who belonged to the highest one-third of the group in terms of lutein in their bloodstream had “a 12 percent reduction in coronary heart disease risk, an 18 percent reduction in stroke risk, and a 25 percent reduction incidents of metabolic syndrome.”
Experts believe that these benefits are due to the carotenoid’s ability to protect cells and tissues from inflammation and oxidative stress. Both conditions are two of the main factors in the development of cardiovascular and metabolic disorders.
The researchers believe that these findings can change how the medical community thinks of lutein. Lutein was previously considered a potent “vision enhancer.”
Lutein can be crucial to maintaining your overall well-being, and the results of this study confirm that lutein can effectively protect you from coronary heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and stroke. These conditions are also linked to diabetes and premature death, which means you can prevent them by consuming more lutein-rich foods.
However, if you have cardiovascular issues, consult a healthcare professional before you add more lutein to your diet.
The additional benefits of lutein include positive blood lipid levels and greater quality. If you want to stay healthy and live longer, follow a diet full of fruits and vegetables that are rich in this crucial carotenoid.
Natural sources of lutein
If you want to add more lutein to your diet, eat more dark green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach. You can also take the carotenoid in supplement form.
- Collards – Collards are full of vitamins and minerals like beta-carotene, calcium, lutein, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, and K.
- Kale – Aside from lutein, kale contains nutrients like beta-carotene, calcium, fiber, and vitamins A, C, and K.
- Spinach – Spinach is full of lutein, and it also has calcium, fiber, iron, potassium, and vitamins, A, C, and K.
- Swiss chard – This leafy vegetable is a great source of lutein. It also contains calcium, iron, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and K.
- Winter squash – Winter squash is full of lutein and vitamin A. It also contains potassium and various vitamins and minerals.
- Yellow sweet corn – Full of lutein and potassium, yellow sweet corn also has fiber and B vitamins.
To learn more about lutein and other natural ways to boost cardiovascular health, visit Heart.news.