A six-month randomised controlled trial has found that eating an avocado each day can boost brain power and enhance macular pigment density.
Researchers observed 40 healthy adults aged 50 and above who ate one avocado each day or a control diet consisting of either one potato or a cup of chickpeas. They published their findings in Nutrients.
Chickpeas and potatoes were selected as a control diet because they have a similar calorie content to avocados but contain a negligible amount of lutein and monounsaturated fats.
The study found that the adults who consumed avocados had a 25% increase in ocular lutein levels. Problem solving skills and working memory were also enhanced in this group.
Lead investigator, Jean Mayer, observed that a balanced diet including fresh avocados may be an effective strategy for cognitive health.
"The results of this study suggest that the monounsaturated fats, fibre, lutein and other bioactives make avocados particularly effective at enriching neural lutein levels, which may provide benefits for not only eye health, but for brain health," she concluded.