When it comes to food sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, you have many options to choose from.
The richest sources are leafy greens — think kale, spinach and collard greens, Grossman says. (Green smoothie, anyone?) Other great food sources include green peas, avocados, and orange peppers.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are also found in some animal products, like egg yolks (in case you need another reason to make a hearty frittata or quiche). Even wheat contains lutein and zeaxanthin, providing another benefit of eating whole-wheat products (given you’re not on a gluten-free diet, of course).
Lutein and zeaxanthin are more bioavailable in animal foods due to the presence of fat because, again, carotenoids are fat soluble, which means they are best absorbed when combined with a fat source.
Now, although it may be difficult, it is possible to get adequate levels of lutein and zeaxanthin through diet. According to Rapoport, the key is to eat plenty of vegetables, especially leafy greens. To increase the bioavailability of lutein and zeaxanthin, try steaming your spinach, kale, or collard greens (rather than eating them raw).
It is worth mentioning that these foods are under-consumed by most people in the United States, as noted in a report by the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, so it’s essential to eat nutrient-dense meals as much as possible. And when in doubt, a high-quality supplement is a simple and effective way to meet your lutein and zeaxanthin needs.