(NaturalHealth365) Avocado benefits have been getting a lot of positive press lately. They are packed with nutrients and an excellent source of healthy unsaturated fats, including omega 3s. Now, a new study out of Tufts University is linking avocados with better brain functioning in older adults.
The research assessed 40 healthy adults over the age of 50 who ate one fresh avocado per day for six months. It was found that they experienced a significant improvement in their problem-solving skills and working memory. They also experienced a 25 percent increase in their levels of the carotenoid antioxidant lutein in their eyes, which is associated with good vision.
Why eating avocado improves brain function
Lutein is a pigment commonly found in fruits and vegetables. It is a known protector of eye health, and now it’s being studied for its benefits to brain and cognitive health as well. This carotenoid is known for its ability to accumulate in the eyes, blood and brain, as well as for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Eating a daily avocado seemed to cause the rise in lutein levels. The researchers tracked the participants over six months and found a gradual but steady increase in lutein levels as measured within the eyes. Tests administered to evaluate their attention levels, brain processing speed and memory were also administered regularly.
By the way: a control group in the same age bracket – who did not eat a daily avocado – did not experience the lutein increase or cognitive health benefits over the study period.
Avocado benefits include higher quality of life – as we age
Avocados are cholesterol-free and loaded with lutein, monounsaturated fats, fiber and other nutrients that make them extremely effective in nourishing neural lutein levels. In addition to healthier eyes, there also seems to be a correlation with brain health.
In truth, there is a significant amount of (suppressed) scientific research that indicates how eye health is directly connected to brain – and heart – health. For more information about this: be sure to listen to Thomas Lewis, PhD – one of the featured speakers in the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Summit, hosted by Jonathan Landsman.
The researchers also noted that eating an avocado per day was twice as effective as taking a supplement for macular pigment density. We should note that the study was backed by the Hass Avocado Board and the USDA and published in the journal Nutrients.
These findings are especially good news for the Hispanic population, say the researchers. This group traditionally eats a lot of avocados in their diet and also has the longest life expectancy of all ethnicities in the U.S.
Simply put, I think it’s safe to say that: extending cognitive health and functioning into the later years means a higher quality of life for older individuals as well as a stronger family unit.
Don’t underestimate the healing power of eating avocados
However, anyone from any cultural group can enjoy the same avocado benefits to cognitive health into their later years. While they are dense in calories, they promote a feeling of satiety that decreases the tendency to snack even hours after eating one.
Avocados are excellent sliced on salads, sandwiches and wraps. They can also be mashed into a tasty guacamole dip. Consider dipping with cucumber slices and carrot sticks instead of tortilla chips for a delicious snack!
Sources for this article include:
Food & Nutrition
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