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Coast To Coast

Coast To Coast

Hilgendorf's Healthful Hints
Thursday, December 13, 2007

Jane HilgendorfBy Jane Hilgendorf
Retired OCC Dean of Physical Education and Athletics

To reduce the risk of cataracts and otherwise keep your eyes healthy, eat foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin.

These carotenoids form the yellow pigment of the macula region of the retina and help absorb blue light (a damaging component of sunlight). Thus they play a protective role, like built-in sunglasses.

Scientists at Ohio State University in Columbus recently confirmed that these compounds help prevent ultraviolet damage in human lens cells. The best sources are: spinach, kale, and other leafy greens, followed by broccoli, Brussels sprouts, peas, squash (summer or winter), dark lettuce, corn, asparagus, carrots, and peppers.

There's little evidence, however, that lutein supplements are protective.