Avocados, apparently have more advantages than just adorning our Caesar salads: Latest research suggests that the oily fruit can boost eye health, brain health, memory and attention span.
A team of researchers at Tufts University’s Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Centre on Aging, found the connection between such curative properties and the lutein content of avocadoes. Both eyes and the brain incorporate this carotenoid.
The study was conducted on a healthy group of men and women. They were asked to consume either an avocado a day or a cup of potatoes/chickpeas a day for six months. The former provided a dose of lutein of about 0.5 mg.
The results of the test were simply that, avocados provided this nutrient in a much larger quantity than potatoes/chickpeas.
The increase in lutein levels in the blood and eye macula of the avocado consumers had an overall increase of 25% instead of 15% in the others.
Macular pigment density, a marker for better eye health, also saw a marked rise in the avocado consumers.
This can not only be a biomarker for lutein levels in the brain, but is also an indicator of better brain health, better memory and problem resolving skills.
“This study is an example of how practical dietary choices can be of benefit to healthy aging […] a dietary intervention with avocados was found to improve cognitive function. This improvement could be related to the increase in MPD, a biomarker of lutein contained in brain tissue. The proposed mechanisms by which lutein benefits cognitive function in the elderly may involve its role as an antioxidant or anti-inflammatory agent.
However, in this study, no changes in oxidative stress or inflammation biomarkers were detected in either group. These measures were within a normal range at the start of the study, and therefore an improved antioxidant or anti-inflammatory status would have been difficult to detect,” the researchers wrote in the Nutra Ingredients U.S.A. website.
“Other proposed mechanisms by which lutein is embedded in neural tissue include the modulation of functional properties of synaptic membranes, along with certain changes in the physiochemical and structural features of these membranes,” the researchers added.
Study 2: How Avocados might help ward off cognitive aging.
Another parallel research published in Frontiers in Aging Neuro-science, illustrated the powerful properties of lutein present in our favorite oily vegetable and other leafy greens that might help to prevent and delay cognitive aging.
The research done at the University of Illinois’ Urbana-Champaign, saw researchers engaging a group of sixty individuals of ages ranging from 25-45.
Then their lutein levels and neural activity were tested by an attention test.
The health experts found that middle-aged participants with higher lutein levels had neural responses that were more similar to the younger volunteers compared with their counterparts with lower lutein levels.
Thus demonstrating the connection between lutein levels in the brain and cognitive/brain aging.
There appears to be a certain protective property to lutein which prevents neural degeneration that is characteristic to aging.
Hence the team urged increased consumption of lutein rich foods.