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Lutein (and the closely related compound zeaxanthin), is a carotenoid phytochemical that helps to prevent age-related macular degeneration and is an antioxidant chemical due to its ability to absorb phototoxic blue light and near ultraviolet radiation.

© Image: David E. Volk
Lutein, an antioxidant phytochemical.

Natural sources

Green leafy vegetables, yellow/orange vegetables and egg yolks are excellent sources of both lutein and zeaxanthin. Because these two compounds are so similar in structure and function, it is convenient to measure them together.

Amount of Lutein Plus Zeaxanthin in Various Food Items[1]
Food Micrograms/cup Micrograms/100 grams
Kale 23,720 18,246
Spinach 20,354 11,308
Turnip greens 12,154 8,440
Collards 14,619 7,694
Mustard Greens 8,347 5,962
Parsley 556 5,560
Dandelion Greens 4,944 4,709
Egg Yolk 505/yolk 2,980
Green Peas, Frozen 3,840 2,400
Lettuce, Romaine 1,295 2,313
Squash, summer 4,048 2,249
Beet greens 2,619 1,819
Lettuce, Greenleaf 969 1,730
Broccoli 2,367 1,517
Squash, winter 2,901 1,415
Brussels Sprouts 2,012 1,290
Onions / Scallions 1,137 1,137
Corn, Canned Sweet Yellow 2,195 1,045
Pumpkin 2,484 1,014


  1. (2004) "Lutein and Zeaxanthin and Their Potential Roles in Disease Prevention". Journal of the American College of Nutrition 23: 567S-587S.