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Improved attention through avocado consumption
Can avocados protect us from cognitive decline? In old age, many people develop weight problems. At the same time, there is an increasing cognitive decline. According to a recent study, if overweight or obese people consume avocado every day, this improves their attentiveness and performance in cognitive tests.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's latest investigation found that avocados can improve the attention of overweight or obese adults. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "Journal of Psychophysiology".
Many people in Germany have weight problems
Overweight and obesity are a major problem for many people. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), two thirds of men (67 percent) and half of women (53 percent) are overweight in Germany alone. A quarter of adults (23 percent of men and 24 percent of women) are even very overweight (obese).
Effects of avocados on cognition
Overweight or obese people can improve their attention through daily consumption of avocados, which is associated with better results in cognitive tests, the researchers report.
Does nutrition protect against cognitive decline?
Previous research has shown that overweight and obese people have an increased risk of cognitive decline and dementia. In their current study, the researchers wanted to find out whether approaches to nutrition could bring benefits for cognitive health, especially in the middle of life.
The effects of avocados on overweight people have not been investigated
Avocados contain a high content of lutein, a nutritional component that is associated with cognitive benefits. Although the benefits of avocado use in older adults and children have been studied, no randomized controlled trials have investigated the cognitive effects on overweight or obese adults.
The investigation had 84 participants
For the study, 84 adults with obesity or obesity were given daily meals by the researchers for a period of twelve weeks. The participants were divided into two groups. One group received fresh avocado together with the meal every day, while the control group did not eat avocados, otherwise the meals were identical in calories and macronutrients.
Cognitive performance was measured at the beginning and end of the study
Three cognitive tests were performed at the beginning and end of the study. In addition, the researchers measured the level of lutein in the serum and retina of the participants, which is related to the lutein concentration in the brain.
Avocados improved the results
Avocado participants showed improved performance in one of the cognitive tests, which measures the ability to maintain focus on a task even when distracted. However, for the other two cognitive tests, there was no difference between the results of the two groups.
What role did lutein play?
The researchers found that while the participants eating avocado had higher lutein levels at the end of the study, the changes in lutein levels did not correlate with their cognitive changes.
What influence did other nutrients have?
“Avocados are also high in fiber and monounsaturated fats. These other nutrients may have played a role in the cognitive effects we've seen, but we've focused on lutein in our analyzes, ”says study author Caitlyn Edwards of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in a press release.
Further research would be appropriate
Future analyzes could focus on other nutrients found in avocados or the effects of avocado consumption on other measures such as weight status, inflammation and possible changes in the microbiome.
Small changes in diet can have a big impact
The results of the study show that even small changes in diet, such as avocado consumption, can have measurable effects on cognitive performance, even if other health behaviors remain the same. (as)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- Caitlyn G. Edwards, Anne M. Walk, Sharon V. Thompson, Ginger E. Reeser, John W. Erdman Jr et al .: Effects of 12-week avocado consumption on cognitive function among adults with overweight and obesity, in Journal of Psychophysiology (Published Volume 148, Pages 13-24, February 2020), Journal of Psychophysiology
- Obesity and obesity, Robert Koch Institute, RKI
- Liz Ahlberg Touchstone: Study: Daily avocado consumption improves attention in persons with overweight, obesity, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (published 03/06/2020), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign