A diet including daily avocado consumption improves the power to focus attention in adults whose measurements of height and weight are categorised as overweight or obese, say researchers.
For the findings, published within the Journal of Psychophysiology, researchers at the University of Illinois within the US, conducted a 12-week study of daily meals with 84 adults who were overweight or obese.
"Previous work has shown that individuals who are overweight and obese are at higher risk for cognitive decline and dementia in older age," said study lead author Naiman Khan from University of Illinois within the US.
"We have an interest in whether dietary approaches may have benefits for cognitive health, especially in midlife," Khan added.
Avocados are high in lutein, a dietary component related to cognitive benefits.
Though avocado consumption benefits are studied in older adults and youngsters , no randomised controlled trials studied its cognitive effects on overweight or obese adults.
In the new study, the researchers provided 12 weeks of daily meals to 84 overweight or obese adults.
The meals were identical in calories and macronutrients, but one group's meals included a fresh avocado a day , while the control group had no avocado in their meals.
At the start and end of the study, the participants completed three cognitive tests to live attention and inhibition. additionally , the researchers measured lutein levels within the participants' serum and in their retinas, which is related to the lutein concentration within the brain.
They found that the participants whose diets included avocados improved their performance on one among the cognitive tests, called the Flanker task, which measures attentional inhibition - the power to take care of specialise in the task at hand even within the face of distraction.
However, there was no difference within the other two cognitive tests.
"It might be that nutrients in avocados have a selected action within the brain that supports the power to try to to this task especially , or they might be more beneficial surely cognitive abilities over others," Khan said.
"It's also possible that with a extended study or different tests, we could see other effects. Other studies have found broader effects in other populations, so it's interesting to ascertain a more specific benefit for this population," Khan added.
Although this study focused on avocados, other dietary sources of lutein, fiber and unsaturated fats - like green leafy vegetables or eggs - even have potential cognitive and health benefits.
The researchers said their study shows that tiny dietary changes, like eating avocados, can have measurable impacts on cognitive performance, even when other health behaviors remain an equivalent .