Zeaxanthin is a natural pigment found in fruits and vegetables. It gives them their green and yellow colors.
Zeaxanthin is also present in your eye. It supports clear vision and boosts general eye health. What’s more, it’s great for your skin, brain, and heart health.
Read on to learn more about zeaxanthin and its many eye health benefits. We’ll also talk about some other health benefits of zeaxanthin you may want to know about. Finally, we’ll share a list of foods and supplements you can take to get your daily dose of zeaxanthin.
What Is Zeaxanthin?
Put simply, zeaxanthin is a type of vitamin known as a carotenoid. It is bright yellow, and it gives fruits and vegetables, like corn, oranges, and egg yolk, their natural color.
Zeaxanthin occurs in the macula of your eyes, the area of the retina responsible for the sharpest vision. It protects your eyes by preserving ocular cells and preventing damage caused by light.
This powerful antioxidant also protects your skin from sun damage, supports liver and kidney health, and reduces the risk of cancer. Adding zeaxanthin foods to your diet supports overall health and longevity.
Let’s zoom in on the specific health benefits of this antioxidant and the research supporting them.
Zeaxanthin Eye Health Benefits
Zeaxanthin for eyes is like a natural shield. It protects your eye tissues, reduces inflammation and dryness, and filters harmful blue light.
A diet rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, two related carotenoids that often occur together, can help fight and slow the progression of diseases.
Let’s see how exactly zeaxanthin benefits your eyes.
Lowers Risk of Macular Degeneration
AMD, or age-related macular degeneration, can blur your central vision. It happens when the macula, a small part of your retina, wears down. AMD is a slow-progressing disease, but it tends to get worse over time.
Studies show that eating a diet rich in zeaxanthin can lower the risk of AMD. What’s more, zeaxanthin also slows the progression of AMD in elderly patients.
Prevents Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetes patients can suffer from a disease called diabetic retinopathy. This can damage the blood vessels of the retina and cause dark spots, blurred vision, and even complete blindness.
Zeaxanthin supplements may help prevent the development of diabetic retinopathy. Zeaxanthin reduces oxidative damage and other abnormalities that damage the retinal blood vessels.
Slows Progression of Cataracts
Cataracts make your eye’s natural lens cloudy. These form slowly and, over time, cause loss of eyesight. Cataracts are generally age-related. But smoking and drinking alcohol heavily can increase the risk of developing cataracts.
On the other hand, eating zeaxanthin-rich food, like spinach, broccoli, and kale, can improve your eye health and lower the risk of cataracts. Zeaxanthin supplements may also help slow the progression of cataracts in some patients.
Uveitis is a type of eye inflammation. It occurs when the middle layer of your eyeball gets inflamed. Warning signs may include redness in the eye, pain, light sensitivity, and blurred vision.
Zeaxanthin has anti-inflammation properties. It can help reduce redness and pain and restore your vision. For the same reason, it’s commonly prescribed as a supplement for uveitis complications.
Filters Blue Light
Blue light from your computer and cellphone can harm your eyes. Too much screen time can cause eyestrain, dry eye, blurry vision, and even sleepless nights. But you can protect your eyes against blue light by including zeaxanthin in your daily diet.
Zeaxanthin is a natural blue light filter. It protects the retina by blocking the passage of blue light entering your eye. What’s more, zeaxanthin also protects your eye from harmful free radicals and photodamage.
Other Zeaxanthin Benefits
In addition to its eye health benefits, zeaxanthin has general health benefits too. It can help improve your brain health, protect your skin, prevent cancer, and support liver, kidney, and heart health.
Improves Brain Health
Zeaxanthin is found in parts of your brain that deal with cognition and movement coordination. According to research, adding zeaxanthin to your everyday diet alongside lutein can sharpen memory, improve muscle coordination, and boost verbal fluency. It also helps people with Alzheimer’s improve their overall brain function.
Long exposure to harmful UV rays can damage your skin. It can also accelerate the aging process, causing inflammation and spotting. The good news is that zeaxanthin can come to your rescue.
This antioxidant also acts as a shield for the skin, protecting it from UV radiation. You can eat a zeaxanthin-rich diet, take supplements, and even apply a skin cream containing zeaxanthin for its skin benefits.
May Prevent Cancer
Zeaxanthin reduces the levels of free radicals in your body. This in turn may reduce the risk of pancreatic and colon cancer. Zeaxanthin also shields your skin from cancer caused by UV damage to your skin cells.
Improves Liver, Kidney, and Heart Health
Zeaxanthin supports liver and kidney health. Eating egg yolk, goji berries, and yellow corn may benefit people with chronic kidney disease. It may also prevent liver scars that result in liver disease.
Foods High in Zeaxanthin
Your body can get most of the zeaxanthin it needs through food. Leafy greens and colorful fruits are especially rich in zeaxanthin. Zeaxanthin-rich fruits and vegetables you can add to your diet include:
- Honeydew melons
- Egg yolk
- Brussels sprouts
- Red peppers
- Goji berries
Eating more of these fruits and vegetables shouldn’t be too hard since you can use them in many different recipes, from salads and homemade snacks to smoothies.
There is no specific daily intake for zeaxanthin. Consuming high quantities of zeaxanthin doesn’t have any side effects. In rare cases, you may develop a harmless yellowing of the skin.
To keep your eyes healthy, you may want to get at least 2 milligrams of zeaxanthin a day according to the US National Eye Institute. You may need more if you smoke or drink heavily.
Eat Your Way to Good Eye Health
Healthy food and good eye health go hand in hand. If your diet is rich and nutritious, your eyes will feel less dry and fatigued. Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, vitamins A, C, and E, zinc, and carotenoids including zeaxanthin are all essential for your eyes to remain healthy for years to come.
Often, taking an eye health supplement makes keeping your eyes healthier a lot easier, especially if you don’t always have time to cook at home.
SightC is a plant-based, zeaxanthin supplement created to support vision health. With goji berries as a key ingredient, it has naturally occurring zeaxanthin, lutein, and beta-carotene, all of them essential carotenoids for eye health, as well as other antioxidants and powerful nutrients.
Aim to get most of your zeaxanthin through food, and supplement that as needed. In return, your eyes will thank you every day for the care you offer them with sharp, clear vision.