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Say yes to avocado for better focus and productivity, says study

Published on:12 March 2020, 10:10am IST
Do you dread your attention span? Want to improve it? Then give avocado a try. Read this one to know more.
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An avocado a day will keep you physically and mentally healthy all the way. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Fruits are best buds when it comes to better overall health. And this time avocado is grabbing all the eyeballs – as consuming an avocado daily might help you improve focus and productivity. Yes, it’s true and this study is proof.  

A diet including daily avocado consumption improves the ability to focus attention in adults whose measurements of height and weight are categorised as overweight or obese, say researchers.

For the findings, published in the Journal of Psychophysiology, researchers at the University of Illinois in the US, conducted the 12-week study of daily meals to 84 adults with overweight or obesity.

“Previous work has shown that individuals with overweight and obesity are at higher risk for cognitive decline and dementia in older age,” said study lead author Naiman Khan from the University of Illinois in the US.

“We are interested in whether dietary approaches may have benefits for cognitive health, especially in midlife,” Khan added.

All thanks to lutein present in avocado
Avocados are high in lutein, a dietary component associated with cognitive benefits.

Though avocado consumption’s benefits have been studied in older adults and children, no randomised controlled trials had studied its cognitive effects on adults with overweight or obesity.

Start your day on a yummy note with avocado toast. Image for representational purposes

The meals were identical in calories and macronutrients, but one group’s meals included a fresh avocado every day, while the control group had no avocado in their meals.

At the beginning and end of the study, the participants completed three cognitive tests to measure attention and inhibition. In addition, the researchers measured lutein levels in the participants’ serum and in their retinas, which is associated with the lutein concentration in the brain.

They found that the participants whose diets included avocados improved their performance on one of the cognitive tests called the Flanker task, which measures attentional inhibition – the ability to maintain focus on the task at hand even in the face of distraction.

However, there was no difference between the other two cognitive tests.

Khan said:

It could be that nutrients in avocados have a specific action in the brain that supports the ability to do this task in particular, or they could be more beneficial for certain cognitive abilities over others.

“It’s also possible that with a longer study or different tests, we could see other effects. Other studies have found broader effects in other populations, so it is interesting to see a more specific benefit for this population,” Khan added.

Not a fan of avocado, then give green leafy vegetables a try
Although this study focused on avocados, other dietary sources of lutein, fiber, and unsaturated fats – such as green leafy vegetables or eggs – also have potential cognitive and health benefits.

Also, listen:

The researchers said their study shows that small dietary changes, such as eating avocados, can have measurable impacts on cognitive performance, even when other health behaviors remain the same.

Yes, it might be an expensive choice but for the sake of your mental health you can at least do this much. So, give an avocado a shot.