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An Avocado a Day Keeps Cognitive Function in Play


Just when we thought we couldn’t love avocados more, a recent study suggests that eating an avocado a day might support and improve cognitive health in older adults. Lutein, a dietary carotenoid found in avocados, has been linked to improving memory and attention span in older adults. A whole avocado contains about 0.5 mg of lutein, a small amount that appears to be beneficial to cognitive function.

What the science is saying The effects of lutein on cognitive function in older adults were observed through a randomized-controlled study where 20 subjects ate an avocado a day for six months while the control group (20 subjects) consumed a whole potato or one cup of chickpeas a day for the same amount of time. Cognitive abilities, macular pigment density (MPD) and lutein levels were assessed in subjects at the baseline of the study then again at three and six months. Avocado subjects had a 25 percent increase in MPD and lutein concentrations at both the three and six-month check-points. An increase in MPD was related to an improvement in working memory and problem solving. Both groups saw an improvement in memory and spatial working memory (records information), but only the subjects consuming avocados had an improvement in their attention span. Incorporating avocados into your diet may improve cognitive health.

Bottom Line Avocados may improve cognitive function in older adults. Eating a well-balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables will provide you with a variety of vitamins and minerals. Aim to eat a well-balanced diet, stay hydrated and follow an exercise routine that works for you, and you won’t have to think about the little things like lutein!

Written By: Charlotte Walker, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern

Sources: 1. Nutrients 2. Choosemyplate.gov 3. Fruits and Veggies More Matters

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