avocado improves memory and cognition

An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but an avocado a day may keep you smart as you get older . . . .

Lutein is an important carotene, especially for eye health. It turns out, though, that lutein concentrates in the macula in the eye and in the brain and that lutein levels in the macula and the brain are related to better cognition.

Avocados are not usually thought of as a rich source of lutein. Turns out, they are. So, researchers set out to see what effect eating avocados would have on cognition.

Forty healthy people who were 50 or older were asked to eat either one avocado a day or a potato or a cup of chickpeas for 6 months. The potato and chickpeas acted as a placebo because they delivered no lutein; the avocado, on the other hand, delivered .5mg a day of lutein.

Six months of avocado eating increased serum lutein levels by 25%. After 6 months macular pigment density increased significantly in the avocado group, but not in the placebo group, meaning that brain lutein increased only in the avocado group.

Both groups had significantly improved memory and spatial working memory. Only the avocado led to significantly improved sustained attention, improved working memory and efficiency in approaching a problem.

This study suggests that avocado is an effective food for increasing lutein and improving brain health and cognition.


Nutrients 2017, 9(9), 919


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