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Super Nutrient of the Week: Lutein
If I were to tell you that there was one nutrient that is connected to vision, would you know which one it is? If you haven’t heard of lutein before today, then you may start trying to incorporate more of this carotenoid into your daily diet after reading this blog!
Lutein is a nutrient that plays a unique role in supporting eye health throughout the lifespan. It is mostly found in the macula of the eye, which is responsible for central vision and also relays information to the visual cortex of the brain. Emerging research has shown that adding lutein-rich foods to your diet you can help lower the risk of developing macular degeneration or cataracts.
Foods high in lutein include (but are not limited to) the following:
Lutein has also been shown in recent research to help protect omega 3 fatty acids like DHA, which is the primary source of fatty acids in our brains. Other research shows that lutein plays a role in the developing visual system during infancy. A recent study published in the Journal of Perinatology points to lutein as an important antioxidant that can reduce the inflammation and cellular damage in premature infants.
It’s crazy to think, but your baby’s first view of the world is often blurry. They begin to see images at 2 months and then by 6 months can pretty much see the world as you do. Supporting eye development is so important for the breastfeeding mother as the baby is able to get sources of lutein through breast milk. Due to all of this emerging research for the benefits of lutein during infancy, Abbot recently added 2x the lutein to Similac infant formulas to help support eye development. Proper nutrition is essential for your child's development — brain and eye development begin in the womb and continue through infancy, so nutrients like DHA and lutein especially important during this crucial time in your child's life.