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Lutein From Plants, Not Eggs Improves Brain Function And Eyesight In Children

eyesight brain function children lutein nutrition

Science has finally admitted that eggs are not the only best source of lutein and that in fact, leafy greens hold more of the antioxidant, which improves eyesight and brain health in children.


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Carrots And Eggs First Associated With Eye Health

When we think of eating foods that are good for the eyes, two foods immediately come to mind. One food is carrots, and the other is eggs. While carrots are good for the eyes due to its high amounts of vitamin A, the egg yolk is more popularly associated with containing lutein – and a type of carotenoid antioxidant that protects eye health. But eggs are not a better choice for lutein than its more bioavailable source, leafy greens, according to science.

There’s More Lutein In Leafy Greens Than Eggs

While the egg yolk contains 252 mcg of lutein and zeaxanthin, researchers have found a better source comes from dark-green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale, especially for children. Spinach is most as packed with lutein – 20.4 mg per cup. While kale, collards and turnip greens are significantly less, but still higher than eggs at 12 mg per cup.

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Kids Who Eat Leafy Greens Have Better Eyesight And Brain Function

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Two studies -- the first study published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience. The second study published in the journal International Journal of Psychophysiology strongly links leafy greens with improved eyesight and brain function in children.

In one study, researchers measured macular pigment optical density
in 56 children (aged 8 to 9 years), and assessed their academic performance, and their 3-day dietary intake of lutein and zeaxanthin. Researchers found that retinal lutein and zeaxanthin are positively related to academic achievement in children, even when controlling for other factors, such as aerobic fitness, body composition, and intelligence quotient (IQ).

Another study investigated the relationship between macular pigment optical density and performance on a challenging cognitive task in 49 children (aged 8 to 10 years.) The research found that children with higher macular pigment optical density responded to cognitive tasks more efficiently, especially in tasks requiring attention. This finding, according to the study, provides "novel support" for the neuroprotective influence of retinal carotenoids, which reduce your risk of macular degeneration, during preadolescence.

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Lutein Is Shown To Be Essential For Brain Development

"Lutein is known to accumulate in the retina and several other regions of the brain and has been shown to protect against eye disease and preserve cognitive function in older adults. These studies are important because they demonstrate that the beneficial influence of lutein on cognition is evident in childhood,"

"We also know that these pigments are found in high quantities in the infant brain. That suggests that they are important in some way for brain development,"