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Consuming daily a fresh avocado, a nutrient-rich, cholesterol-free fruit with naturally good fats, may help boost cognitive function such as working memory and problem-solving skills in older adults, according to new research.
The findings showed that adults aged 50 and over who ate one fresh avocado a day for six months experienced a 25 per cent increase in lutein levels in their brain and eyes, which resulted in significant improvement in working memory and problem-solving skills.
Lutein is a carotenoid, or pigment, commonly found in fruits and vegetables that accumulates in the blood, eye and brain and may act as an anti-inflammatory agent and antioxidant.
"The results of this study suggest that the monounsaturated fats, fiber, lutein and other bioactives make avocados particularly effective at enriching neural lutein levels, which may provide benefits for not only eye health, but also for brain health," said lead researcher Elizabeth Johnson from the Tufts University in Massachusetts.
Eating avacadoes also showed progressive improvement in other cognitive skills such as memory, processing speed and attention levels.
"Furthermore, the results reveal that lutein levels in the eye more than doubled in subjects that consumed fresh avocados, compared to a supplement. Thus, a balanced diet that includes fresh avocados may be an effective strategy for cognitive health," Johnson added, in the paper published in the journal Nutrients.
In a study, researchers from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley reported that avocado seed husks, which are usually discarded along with the seed, contain a plethora of useful chemical compounds.
The study revealed that these chemical compounds could eventually be used to treat a host of debilitating diseases as well as to enhance the allure of cosmetics, perfumes and other consumer goods.