Consuming one avocado daily may significantly improve the working memory and problem-solving skills in older adults, according to a study.
In the study, 40 healthy adults aged 50 and over, who ate one fresh avocado a day for six months, experienced a 25% increase in lutein levels in their eyes and improved cognitive function. Lutein is a pigment commonly found in fruits and vegetables that accumulates in the blood, eye and brain and may act as an anti-inflammatory agent and an antioxidant.
Researchers from Tufts University in the US monitored gradual growth in the amount of lutein in the eyes and progressive improvement in cognition skills as measured by tests designed to evaluate memory, processing speed and attention levels.
In contrast, the control group which did not eat avocados experienced fewer improvements in cognitive health during the study period. “The study suggests that the monounsaturated fats, fibre, lutein and other bioactives make avocados particularly effective at enriching neural lutein levels, which may provide benefits for not only eye health, but for brain health,” said Elizabeth Johnson, from Tufts University.
“The results of this new research reveal that lutein levels in the eye more than doubled in subjects that consumed fresh avocados, compared to a supplement,” said Johnson, lead investigator of the study published in the journal Nutrients.
These findings are based on the consumption of one whole avocado each day (369 microgrammes lutein).
Additional research is needed to determine whether the results could be replicated with consumption of the recognised serving size of one-third of an avocado per day, researchers said.