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Eat the Rainbow for Your Eyes

by Bridget Swinney, R.D.

Have you "eaten the rainbow" today? Brightly colored fruits and vegetables offer different nutrients that are good for your overall health, and eating the colors of the rainbow spectrum, especially those with the carotenoid lutein, may also protect your eyes from damaging light and promote good eye health for people of all ages. Read on to see what foods you should be including in your family's diet.

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Various fruits and vegetables

What is Lutein?


Carotenoids naturally originate from plants, such as fruits and vegetables, and can help protect against cell damage. Lutein is one of only two carotenoids found in the human eye, and it concentrates in the critical point of the retina that receives and absorbs light. It works in two ways; it absorbs potentially damaging light (especially blue light) and protects against oxidative damage. Studies also show that lutein can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, two of the leading causes of vision trouble in adults, by 35 percent and 40 percent, respectively.

Boost the use of this important nutrient in your family's diet. Encourage your family to taste a rainbow of fruits and vegetables that are good for their eyes (and if you're pregnant or breastfeeding, remember that baby can only get lutein through your diet). Check out this colorful list of lutein-rich foods.

Next: Red: Apples

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