If you want to keep your brain healthy and fit to meet the challenges of the day, there are a number of foods out there to help you on your way. Here’s a look at the five brain health benefits avocados can provide for you.
Avocados are loaded with potassium, which helps to regulate salivation, heart rate and muscle contractions. They’re also high in fiber, vitamin E, B vitamins and fat-soluble antioxidants.
The potassium, vitamin E, B vitamins and fat-soluble antioxidants in avocados can all help minimize cognitive decline, making them an awesome pick.
What are the Brain Health Benefits of Avocados?
Regular consumption of avocado can be beneficial for people of all ages, as the good-for-you fats and fibre support brain health. In particular, consuming “healthy” fats such as avocado can help counter the effects of age-related declines in cognitive dysfunction.
The brain benefits of avocados are believed to result from the way they affect the ratio of brain-boosting choline and acetylcholine.
Choline is a neurotransmitter involved in nerve synapses, cell activity and information processing in the brain. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that supports and maintains brain homeostasis and excitability. Small, supplement-sized doses of both can increase cognitive function.
How Much or How Little of Avocados should you be consuming?
The brain health benefits of avocados are significant for people older than age 50. The fat can increase blood flow to the brain, helping it operate at its best, even into old age. The benefits are also thought to occur through the metabolism of the avocado as well as increased absorption of the less brain-benefiting LDL (Bad) cholesterol. Little is known about the brain benefits of younger adults.
What Can you Add to Your Diet to Maximise the Benefits?
You can add avocado to everything, from breakfast cereals to salads and guacamole.
Other unexpected brain health benefits of avocados include their anti-inflammatory effects. Eaten whole, avocados offer a plethora of micronutrients including vitamin E, C and K; manganese, copper, magnesium and boron. They are also an excellent source of fibre, carbs and protein.
Avocados can be great snacks. But just like fitness and nutrition experts note, they’re still better eaten after they’ve been polished off, rather than served up as a breakfast spread.
Eating the fruit “within hours of finishing one (or all) of the avocados can benefit the health of your brain.” says Rae Friendly, RD, metallurgical dietitian and owner of Inspired Nutrition.
These foods trigger fast-acting uptake of an important substance (cytisine) for more important chemical processes in the brain. For example, brain cells require more energy to produce large amounts of serotonin, the feel-good hormone.Lisa Young, RDN.
Eating an avocado first can help you feel more satisfied and possibly increase the brain’s ability to absorb these hormones.
The good news is avocados do contain some nutrient-packed nutrients, including vitamins A, C and E, along with magnesium, which “may play a key role in maintaining blood pressure, metabolism and overall cardiovascular function,” adds Janet Vogel, PhD, RD, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
That said, just be sure you’re consuming the whole fruit. As opposed to options with hulls removed, fresh avocados are more likely to be “sun-dried” rather than processed, which means less nutrient-dense pulp ends up ever being consumed, adds Abby Langer, RD. (Luckily, they’re still delicious.)
If you want your brain to be more youthful, healthy and sharp, try these seven brain-boosting foods.
It may help you Develop Metabolism
Although brain cells age more slowly than body cells (although there can be some interplay in the ageing process), omega-3’s are now known to be important for cell survival, Vogel says. A diet rich in these healthy fats could help preserve those cells.
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CTA activity (or cognition and memory) is closely linked to how much oxygen brain cells get per minute, and it gets worse as you age, notes Vogel. Moreover, a healthy brain can really only handle 500mg of caffeine a day… so if you can do it even lightly, your memory and concentration might be the result.
Avocados, like their dairy counterpart, Bovine Collagen, are excellent sources of brain calcium, which plays a key role in calcium homeostasis, says Dan DelaCruz, professor and chair of the nutrition department at SUNY Buffalo State College.
Brain cells, being passively held together, rely on calcium to produce proteins that keep the brain going. “even while the body and brain’s blood flow are shut off.” he notes. “When calcium is missing, brain cells often don’t function as well, and are vulnerable to mood disorders and cognitive decline over time.” In other words, high intake of the “good” stuff could mean better brainpower and possibly even memory and cognition.
Avocados come packed with nutrients, including vitamin E and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Just one serving adds up to 45 calories, which can help stave off the risk of chronic disease. Want to try it on for size? Just eyeball it here.
Given how much omega-3’s avocados provide, this fruit might also help reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Because of this, reaching for the stuff may keep your days moving along more quickly.
You’ll Burn More Calories with Brain Health
When healthy fats are available as part of the diet, the body takes them in and uses them for energy. However, when we can’t fit energy into the body, fats are stored as excess. And this increases the risk of weight gain and heart disease. Results show people who consumed one avocado per day had no increase in the risk of heart disease or diabetes compared with those who didn’t eat avocados or only ate one serving of nuts or seeds.
It may Boost your Performane
Performing cardio (e.g., swimming, biking) and strength exercises can help boost brain health, says 2014 research. This, in turn, can help lower the risk of dementia, brain injuries and cognitive decline. If that’s useful to you, you might want to consider adding avocados to your diet.
Recently, avocados have made a big transition from desserts to lunchtime go-to’s and dinner conversation starters. A study published in the Journal of Functional Foods found mashing them up for a savoury spread (avocado ranch) makes for a tasty healthy snack. Enjoy a handful of whole-grain crackers, add it to guacamole, cookie batter or topping salads.