tive effects against various forms of radia- tion, researchers believe that astaxanthin supplementation could greatly reduce the harmful effects of radiation.

5. Enhances Memory Function Research has shown that astaxanthin

may improve memory function in adults with cognitive impairment or cancer pa- tients suffering from "chemobrain," a cognitive dysfunction caused by chemo- therapeutic agents, by reducing the pro- gression of neurodegeneration.

Top Five Cognitive Benefits of Lutein

1. May Reduce the Risk of Macular De- generation Higher intake of both lutein and astax-

anthin is correlated with reduced risk of advanced age-related macular degenera- tion.[xv] Researchers suggest that indi- viduals increase their intake of lutein- containing foods as a protective measure against the progression of this disease.

2. Enhances Memory Researchers found that supplementing

with lutein enhanced memory and cogni- tive function in healthy adults with low macular pigment in the central retina, and now believe lutein's strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may also increase executive function and verbal fluency.

3. May Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia In addition to improving memory in

healthy adults, lutein has shown positive effects on those suffering from Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia and may be useful in preventing the onset of these diseases. This is likely due to lutein's antioxidant properties and ability to ef-

fectively lower chronic oxidative stress in the brain.

4. Reduces Psychological Stress and Im- proves Mood In a study of the emotional health of

young adults, lutein supplementation was found to significantly improve stress and mood levels by reducing oxidative stress and systemic inflammation after six and 12 months.

5. Improves Cognitive Performance in Children Lutein is not only a powerful supple-

ment for improving memory and increas- ing cognitive function in adults, but has powerful benefits for children as well. A research study from Canada found that children with higher levels of macular pigmentation opal density (MPOD) per- form better on cognitive tests and were less likely to have errors than children with lower levels of MPOD. Lutein supplementation improves

these MPOD levels and increases cogni- tive function in children. Researchers have suggested that increased lutein intake by breastfeeding mothers may improve lutein levels in breastmilk, further improving children's and infants' cognitive abilities.

How to Increase Lutein and Astaxanthin in Your Diet

Astaxanthin and lutein boast numer-

ous brain and cognitive benefits, leading researchers to believe that an increase of these powerful carotenoids through diet or supplementation could greatly reduce the risk of various cognitive disorders, as well as improve cognitive function. Here are a few suggestions for increasing your levels of lutein and astaxanthin:

1. Pay attention to the timing of supple- mentation and avoid smoking. A 2014 study determined that the

bioavailability of astaxanthin supplements is greatly improved when taken after meals. Furthermore, the researchers found that smoking reduced the concentration of astaxanthin, reducing its therapeutic benefits.

2. Increase intake of leafy greens and fruits and vegetables high in carotenoids. Examples include kale (a potent heal-

ing green loaded with lutein), cooked and raw spinach, cooked broccoli, raw parsley, cooked asparagus, Brussels sprouts and raw orange peppers.

3. Eat more eggs. Both raw and cooked eggs (whites and

yolks) are extremely high in levels of di- etary lutein.

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