Want to improve your brain performance? Eat avocados
03/29/2022 / By Joanne Washburn / Comments
Want to improve your brain performance? Eat avocados

Here’s one good reason to eat avocados: They can help improve your ability to focus on tasks even in the face of distraction, particularly if you’re overweight or obese.

In a study published in the journal Current Developments in Nutrition, researchers found that overweight or obese participants who ate a fresh avocado every day did better on a cognitive test that measured attentional inhibition than those who didn’t eat an avocado.

The researchers believe that the avocado’s beneficial effects on cognitive performance could be due to nutrients like fiber, monounsaturated fats and lutein.

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Previous studies have shown that people who are overweight or obese are at an increased risk for dementia and cognitive decline in later life. The researchers of the study were interested to know whether dietary approaches, such as adding an avocado to your daily meals, may have benefits for cognitive health, especially in midlife.

To that end, they gave daily meals to 84 adults who were overweight or obese for 12 weeks. The meals were identical in calories and macronutrients, but one group’s meals included a fresh avocado every day. The control group had no avocado in their meals.

At the beginning and end of the study, the participants had to complete three cognitive tests that measured attention and inhibition. The researchers also measured the participants’ levels of lutein, a powerful compound that accumulates in the retina. Lutein, which is found in avocados, is linked to better cognitive function.

They found that participants who had avocados with their meals did better than those in the control group on a cognitive test called the Flanker task, which measures attentional inhibition. This refers to the ability to maintain focus on tasks even if there are distractions.

However, there was no significant difference in the other two cognitive tests.

According to the researchers, some nutrients in avocados could have triggered a specific action in the brain that supports its ability to focus on the task at hand even in the face of distraction.

The participants who had avocados had higher levels of lutein at the end of the study, but the researchers found that changes in their lutein levels were not correlated with their enhanced cognitive performance.

It’s possible that other nutrients in avocados could have improved cognitive performance. Since their analyses focused on lutein, further studies may shed light on whether other nutrients in avocados affect cognitive performance.

How to incorporate avocados into your daily meals

Avocados are an incredibly nutrient-dense food. Just one ounce of this creamy fruit has 80 calories. It also provides good amounts of healthy fats, fiber, protein, B vitamins, vitamin K and copper, among other nutrients.

There are many different ways to make avocados a part of your daily food intake. Here are some ideas:

  • Eat it as a snack – Sprinkle avocados with a pinch of salt and pepper and enjoy them as a tasty snack or dessert. You can also use other seasonings like paprika and cayenne pepper.
  • Stuff it with an egg – For a healthier breakfast, fill half an avocado with an egg and bake for 15 minutes or until the egg white has fully set. Top with fresh herbs and spices. If you’re vegan, you can simply replace the egg with other ingredients, such as vegetables, fruits and beans.
  • Mix it into scrambled eggs – Add diced avocados to scrambled eggs when they’re halfway cooked.
  • Put it on toast – Spread puree avocado on toast or sandwiches for a nutrient boost.
  • Add it to salads – Make your salads more filling with some avocado slices.
  • Blend it – Blend avocados with vegetables, fruits and Greek yogurt for a nutrient-dense smoothie.
  • Make guacamole – Make guacamole for dipping by mashing avocados, herbs and seasonings in a bowl. Serve it with toast, vegetables or bread.

Avocados are an incredibly nutritious fruit that can help improve cognitive function in older age. Enjoy the cognitive benefits of avocados when you incorporate them into your daily meals.

Sources:

ScienceDaily.com

Cambridge.org

Healthline.com

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