Lutein is concentrated in the retinas of your eyes and is necessary for good vision. A diet rich in lutein may lower your risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration.
Lutein may also help prevent or slow down atherosclerosis, the thickening of arteries, which is a major risk for cardiovascular disease.
So how much lutein do we need? Getting enough lutein in your diet each day may help reduce the risk of
macular degeneration or other eye diseases such as cataracts.
Although there is no recommended daily intake for lutein, a Harvard University study suggests
that consuming 6 mg of lutein from green leafy vegetables may reduce the risk of developing eye diseases.
Try it: Steam the leaves for 2 minutes, then marinade them in a mixture of chunky all natural peanut butter and rice wine vinegar. Saute in a bit of olive oil and serve as a side dish.
Lutein: 10.2 mg
Try it: Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute, until the garlic is just beginning to brown.
Add the spinach to the pan, packing it down a bit if you need to with your hand. Use a couple spatulas to lift the spinach and turn it over in the pan so that you coat more of it with the olive oil and garlic. Do this a couple of times. Cover the pan and cook for 1 minute. Uncover and turn the spinach over again. Cover the pan and cook for an additional minute. After 2 minutes of covered cooking the spinach should be completely wilted. Remove from heat. Drain any excess moisture from the pan. Add a little more olive oil, sprinkle with salt to tast.
Try it: Their broad leaves make them a great substitute for tortillas. Trim out the thick center vein, then steam for about 2 minutes, until they're bright green, but not wilted. Fold and stuff with a finely chopped mixture of chicken breast, feta cheese and roasted peppers. Bake at 325 F for 10 to 15 minutes.