Increasing Lutein levels
Eating a fresh avocado every day increases lutein levels in the eyes by 25 percent and significantly improves working memory and problem-solving skills in healthy adults over 50 years old.
Researchers at Tufts University (United States) claim that daily consumption of fresh avocado can improve cognitive function in older adults by observing an increase in lutein levels in the eyes, according to data from a small study published in Nutrients.
Specifically, the study included 40 healthy adults over the age of 50 who ate one fresh avocado daily for six months and, after this period, they observed a 25 percent increase in lutein levels in their eyes and significantly improved working memory and problem-solving abilities.
"Monounsaturated fats, fiber, lutein, and other bioactives make avocados particularly effective in enriching neural lutein levels," admitted Elizabeth Johnson.
As study participants incorporated an avocado into their daily diet, researchers observed a gradual increase in the amount of lutein in their eyes and a progressive improvement in their cognitive abilities, measured by tests designed to evaluate memory, processing speed, and attention levels.
On the other hand, the control group of participants who did not eat avocados experienced fewer improvements in cognitive health during the study period, and instead of avocado, they ate potatoes and chickpeas since they provide the same calories but less lutein and monounsaturated fats.
Despite the finding, the authors admit that further research is needed to determine if the results can be reproduced with a slightly lower consumption, such as a third per day, which would equate to about 136 micrograms of lutein.
"The results of this study suggest that monounsaturated fats, fiber, lutein, and other bioactives make avocados particularly effective in enriching neural lutein levels, which can provide benefits not only for eye health but for brain health as well," recognized Elizabeth Johnson, principal investigator of the study.