Avocados are often considered trendy and while some people like the taste, some don’t. But, with the high content of healthy fats in it, it is not surprising that this is considered one of the best fruits for weight loss. It helps improve quality of life in obese or overweight individuals too.
A new study (R) conducted by the researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, News Bureau found that the daily consumption of one avocado can improve attention in the obese or overweight individuals.
Naiman Khan, kinesiology and community health professor, who is also the lead author of the study stated that prior studies have found that the individuals who are obese or overweight have higher risks of experiencing cognitive decline and dementia in the older age.
The study was conducted to find whether the dietary approaches could have better impacts on reversing the impacts of the condition. The primary reason why the researchers chose Avocado for this study was because of the high concentration of lutein present in it.
This has been found to have amazing benefits on the cognitive functioning of the individuals. While there have been a few conducted studies on the impacts of avocado consumption on the older adults and children, there have been no randomized trial conducted to find the impacts of the same on the cognitive abilities of the individuals, especially for the obese or overweight individuals.
The same was clarified by Caitlyn Edwards who is the first author of the study.
For the study, the researchers included 84 adults for the trial who were given the meals by the researchers for 12 weeks straight. The macronutrients and calories in all the groups were the same. The only difference was that one group was given fresh avocado as part of their diet while the control group didn’t have the same.
Both in the beginning as well as by the end of the study, the individuals had to undergo 3 different cognitive testing. The same were conducted to keep a track on the attention and the inhibition of the individuals.
Aside from that, the researchers also calculated the lutein levels both in the serum and the retina of the participants. The retina concentration depicts the lutein concentration in the brain.
Upon observing the results, the researchers found that the participants who ate avocados on a daily basis had improved cognitive response to one of the tests conducted. The test, called the Flanker test, is the type of situation in which one ensues the ability to maintain their focus on an allotted task even with distractions surrounding them.
But, for the other two tests, these individuals didn’t necessarily show any kinds of drastic changes.
Addressing this, Khan said that it is likely that the nutrients in the avocados improve the specific brain function to conduct that tasks seamlessly without any stoppage. Aside from that, it is also likely that they have better impacts on certain cognitive functioning over the others.
The researchers have also emphasised on the fact stating that there are possibilities that with further studies, they could find better understanding of the condition. There have been few other studies which have found effective impacts on some of the other population.
Another important factor that was worth noticing was the fact that the individuals who ate avocados did have high lutein levels in their bodies but the same were not correlated to the changes in their cognitive functioning.
According to Edwards, it could be the high levels of fiber and monounsaturated fats in the avocados which could be contributing to the condition of improved cognitive functions. For this specific study, the researchers just focused on the lutein levels and hence the results.
It is believed that the future studies could be focusing on the other nutrient composition to get a better outlook on the overall impacts of the avocado consumption. They could also correlate the same with the impacts on weight, inflammation as well as the potential changes in the microbiome.
The researchers also want to test out other sources of lutein, fiber and unsaturated fats from the other food sources like the green leafy vegetables to get a better perspective of things. This specific study showed that making smaller changes to the diet of the obese or the overweight individuals could effectively improve the cognitive functions.
According to Khan, they want to provide the individuals with more options to take care of their brain health. Along this study, the researchers did learn for a fact that avocados do possess potent neuroprotective functions. This is why adding it to the daily diet is considered effective enough to keep your weight in check and your probably brain function in check as well.