Lutein and Zeaxanthin rich tasty Salad That Helps the Macular Pigments

Here is a recipe with many of the essential suplements required for good eye health.

The oxygen-containing xanthophylls lutein (L), and zeaxanthin (Z), are two of more than 600 known naturally occurring carotenoids. Synthesized by plants, these yellow, orange and red carotenoid pigments act to absorb light energy for photosynthesis and to protect the plant from high energy UV light. These xanthophyll pigments serve a similar role in protecting the eye from photo-oxidative stress. The yellow from carotenoid accumulation gives the posterior polar region of the retina its name: Macula Lutea or "yellow spot."

L and Z are fat soluble, essential nutrients in the vitamin A family. An "essential" nutrient is one that must be acquired in the diet since the human body is not able to synthesize it. The isomers L and Z are frequently quantified together and are annotated as "L+Z," making it difficult to assess which carotenoid is actually present in a particular food. L is found abundantly in leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale. Sources of Z include corn, paprika, egg yolk and goji berries. The L and Z found in egg yolk is highly bioavailable and preferentially accumulates in the macula. Goji berries are the richest source of plant derived Z. Fat–soluble nutrients are more efficiently absorbed when consumed with a fat. Also, steaming, sautéing or pureeing vegetables will help breakdown plant cell walls, increasing the body's access to these nutrients. Spinach sautéed with olive oil would be a delicious example!

L and Z are found in both the crystalline lens and the macula where they function as a blue light filter and offer protection from light induced oxidative cell damage. The amount of L and Z in the macula can be quantified as the macular pigment optical density (MPOD). Epidemiological evidence has demonstrated a reduction in the risk of progression of Age–related Macular Degeneration (AMD) with higher dietary and plasma levels of L and Z. Studies also show a positive influence on vision including: improved visual acuity and visual processing speed, enhanced contrast sensitivity and speed of glare recovery. These two eye nutrients are great for everyone's eyes, young and old, in order to improve visual performance and ocular health through better nutrition.

Roasted Nicoise Salad

Serves 4–6

For the Roasted Vegetables:

Preheat: 375 degrees F

  • 1 lb asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 lb green beans, stemmed
  • 3 T water
  • 2–3 yellow squash, cut into quarters, lengthwise
  • 2–3 zucchini, cut into quarters, lengthwise
  • 2 orange bell peppers cut into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into strips
  • 2 T olive oil
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Place the asparagus and beans on a large baking sheet with the water.
  2. To a second baking sheet, add peppers; the squash and zucchini, cut side down.
  3. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast for 15–25 minutes until crisp tender, stirring once. Set aside.


For the Dressing:

Makes: 2 cups

  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 hardboiled omega–3 egg
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 T Dijon style mustard
  • 1/3 cup + 1 T lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 T water
  • 1 cup scallions, roughly chopped, loosely packed
  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley, loosely packed
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika



  1. Place all ingredients in a high speed blender.
  2. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  3. If needed, add an additional 1–2 tablespoons of water for desired pouring consistency.

[Note: Store extra in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.]

For the Salad Assembly:

  • 2–6oz tins wild Alaskan salmon
  • 1–2oz tin anchovy fillets, packed in oil, drained
  • 3 hardboiled omega–3 eggs, sliced or cut into quarters
  • 1 lb small red potatoes, boiled, fork tender. Cut into quarters
  • 8 oz grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/2 cup olives, pitted
  • 1 T capers, optional
  1. Combine 1/4 cup dressing with the salmon.
  2. On a large serving platter, arrange roasted vegetables, potatoes, tomatoes, olives and salmon in groupings.
  3. Decorate with eggs, anchovies and capers.
  4. Drizzle lightly with 1/4 cup dressing. Serve extra dressing on the side.


Nutrition Facts:

Dressing (2 T/serving): Protein: 1 gm; Carbohydrate: 2 gm; Fat: 9.6 gm; Calories: 132

Roasted Nicoise Salad (6 servings): Protein: 22 gm; Carbohydrate: 30 gm; Calories: 180

Ocular Nutrition Highlights:

Olive oil: vitamin E

Omega–3 egg: Omega–3 fatty acids, lutein, zeaxanthin

Garlic: vitamin C, allicin

Lemon: vitamin C

Scallions: lutein, allicin

Parsley: lutein, vitamin C

Paprika: zeaxanthin

Zucchini: vitamin C, lutein

Yellow Squash: vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin

Asparagus: vitamin A, lutein

Green Beans: vitamin A, vitamin C, lutein

Orange Bell Pepper: zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin A

Red Bell Pepper: lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin A

Salmon: omega–3 fatty acids (DHA/EPA)

Anchovy: omega–3 fatty acids (DHA/EPA)

Tomato: vitamin C, lycopene

Olives: lutein, vitamin E

For more great recipes like this, get the cookbook by visiting :


Eli Ben Moshe, O.D.
Jared Hagan,O.D.
Chris Johnson,O.D.





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