By Joy Stephenson-Laws, J.D., Founder

An Avocado A Day May Help Keep The Cognitive Decline Away!

 



Forty-nine-year-old actress and talk show host Kelly Ripa is a big fan of eating avocados. She is in great shape.

Avocados are great for our health because they are nutrient-dense and a good source of healthy fat. This fruit (yes, it is a fruit) is rich in monounsaturated fat which has been shown to help lower levels of bad cholesterol in the blood and lower the risk of heart disease.

There are so many reasons why eating this green, creamy goodness may be good for you, and now, recently, a new study found evidence which suggested that eating avocados may be especially good for the cognitive health of people who are overweight or obese.

The study, led by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, suggested that overweight and obese people who consumed avocado on a daily basis had a better ability to focus their attention (which is a sign of good cognitive health) compared to people of similar body types who did not consume avocado daily.

70 percent of the American adult population is overweight or obese.

It is important to note that people who are overweight or obese have an increased risk of developing dementia and experiencing cognitive decline as they get older. This may have to do with the fact that being overweight or obese may cause chronic inflammation throughout the body. 

Furthermore, this report discussing the study says that 70 percent of the American adult population falls into the category of being overweight or obese.

The study involved 84 adults who were overweight or obese. For 12 weeks, the participants were given meals identical in the number of calories and macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, water and fats. Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals). The only difference is that some of the participants were given one fresh avocado on a daily basis while others were not. Participants were also asked to complete three cognitive tests to measure attention and inhibition.

Along with nutrients such as vitamin C, folate, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium, avocados are also rich in a nutrient called lutein. This nutrient is well-known for being beneficial to eye health, but it has also been connected to cognitive benefits. 

The results of the study revealed 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,” according to the study report.

“The researchers say 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.”

If you are not a big fan of avocados or cannot eat them due to certain dietary restrictions, the good news is that you can get lutein from other foods such as green, leafy vegetables and eggs.

Here are a few ways to incorporate avocados into your daily diet.
  • Enjoy some chopped up avocado over scrambled eggs in the morning (both of these foods are lutein-rich). You can also do avocado toast with whole grain bread.

  • Have a fruit smoothie with avocado. It will make the smoothie creamy and delicious!

  • Add avocado to your daily salad. The healthy fat will help you feel fuller for a longer time.

  • Smash up avocado and use this as your “mayo” on sandwiches and wraps.

  • Try making avocado pasta. Now is the perfect time to try out new, healthy recipes.

I think another major takeaway from this study is that we have to address America’s obesity epidemic. Obesity causes so many health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, depression, cancer, dementia and more. 

Being overweight or obese also puts us in a position where he or she will be less likely to be able to fight off COVID-19.

So while eating avocado may be a great thing you can add to your proactive healthcare routine, it is crucial to address your weight if you are obese or overweight.

(As always, seek the advice of a competent healthcare professional regarding the foods and supplements you are including in your daily diet).

Eat healthily, move your body regularly, get good quality sleep and make sure that you are getting the nutrients your body needs for fuel and maintaining a healthy weight.

 

Enjoy your healthy life!

 

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.

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