Continued from previous article Food for healthy eyes part 1, Research conducted by Chitchumroonchokchai and colleagues in 2004 from Ohio State University, indicated that lutein and zeaxanthin may protect human lens cells from UV exposure, which is the major cause of cataract disease. In addition, they compared the antioxidant activity of lutein and zeaxanthin as vitamin E. The results showed that lutein and zeaxanthin showed 10 times higher activity than vitamin E in protecting the lens cells from damage caused by ultraviolet light.
In the same year was also conducted research by Neuringer and colleagues, showed the ability of lutein and zeaxanthin in eye health. While testing on animals, sponsored by DSM Nutritional Products Switzerland, showed that the supplementation or the addition of lutein and zeaxanthin increase the activity of antioxidants in the blood.
Another group of carotenoid compounds that actually has the ability to protect the macula from UV exposure is astaxanthin. Guerin et al. (2003) mentions that the ability of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds astaxanthin can give the effect of eye protection from UV rays.
Until now, the antioxidant activity of compounds lutein, zeaxanthin, and astaxanthin provide answers to the mechanism of the increase in eye health. Free radicals from UV light or air pollution, into the eye resulted in oxidation reactions of molecules susceptible to the lens of the eye.
These molecules are proteins and fats that make up the lens of the eye. The effect of this oxidation causes damage to proteins or fats in the lens of the eye. Along with increasing age and increasing pressure accumulation of free radicals, protein and fat which are damaged will be even greater in number. That is what makes vision blurred and eventually become blind.
Lutein, zeaxanthin, and astaxanthin arresting free radicals (radical scavenger activity) by binding with it before these radicals damage the eye lens protein or fat. Or in other words, lutein, zeaxanthin, and astaxanthin may be cited as the protector of the lens against free radical attack.
Carotenoids are found in yellow-orange vegetables such as carrots, green vegetables such as broccoli, and red fruits and yellow-orange, like tomatoes, strawberries, watermelon, and mango. So by consuming vegetables and fruits on a regular basis to meet the needs of lutein, zeaxanthin, and astaxanthin per day. In addition, other effects of consuming vegetables and fruits is to increase fiber intake of food is very good for health.
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