Lutein is most likely safe for pregnant and breast-feeding women if they consume the amounts that are typically found in food, according to WebMD. Foods that supply lutein include broccoli, kale, grapes, orange juice, zucchini and corn. The body is most able to absorb lutein when it is consumed in a high fat meal.
Lutein is one of two carotenoids found in the macula and retina of the human eye, where it is thought to filter light and prevent damage to the tissues of the eye. There is evidence that supplementing the diet with doses of lutein in the range of 6.9 to 11.7 milligrams per day can be effective in preventing macular degeneration and for preventing the development of cataracts in the elderly, according to WebMD. Some people also use it to prevent retinitis pigmentosa.
There are 44 milligrams of lutein in a cup of cooked kale, 26 milligrams in a cup of cooked spinach and 3 milligrams in a cup of broccoli. It has not been shown effective in the prevention of coronary heart disease, though some people take lutein for this purpose. Many multivitamins contain a small amount of lutein, usually about 0.25 milligrams per pill, states WebMD.