Podcast Episode 158: Avocados & Cognition in Adults with Overweight/Obesity

Aug 18, 2020

This episode is sponsored by Fresh Avocados – Love One Today® and we thank them for their support of the podcast. Love One Today®is a science-based food and wellness education program that encourages Americans to include fresh Hass avocados in everyday healthy eating plans to help increase fruit and vegetable intake and as a delicious, heart healthy, whole food source of fiber and naturally good fats. Marisa Moore, MBA, RDN is a spokesperson for Fresh Avocados – Love One Today®.

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Effects of 12-week avocado consumption on cognitive function among adults with overweight and obesity published in the International Journal of Psychophysiology

Individuals with overweight or obesity are at a greater risk for cognitive impairment, and 70% of American adults are overweight or obese. Emerging science links mid-life obesity to later cognitive decline, and while the exact mechanisms of the influence of overweight and obesity on cognitive health are not yet fully understood, dietary lutein (which is a plant pigment known as a xanthophyll and found in green leafy vegetables, eggs and fruits such as avocados) has been associated with beneficial cognitive patterns in people who are overweight or obese. Avocados are a highly bioavailable source of the xanthophyll lutein with 136 micrograms per serving. The purpose of this study was to examine the potential role of avocados on cognitive function and lutein status among adults with overweight and obesity.

This was a 12-week randomized-controlled trial of 84 adults ages 25–45 years old, with a BMI at or above 25. Participants either received a 12-week daily meal with one fresh Hass avocado or a control group that received a meal matching in both calories and macronutrient composition, but without an avocado. Biomarkers were used to measure lutein status, and a series of assessment tasks were used to measure attention and inhibition. This study was supported by the Hass Avocado Board as part of the Love One Today® education program.

This study demonstrated that it’s possible that eating avocados may benefit cognitive function indirectly through improvements in digestion and metabolic health, or directly through changes in neural lipid and inflammatory profiles.”

Tune in to this episode to learn key takeaways from this study about:

  • Changes in serum lutein concentrations
  • Improvements in cognitive task performance
  • How the results from this study add to growing research supporting the role of avocados in cognitive health

You’ll also learn why avocados are considered a “nutrient-boosting food” and gain practical tips for picking, buying and storing avocados including how to freeze them for use in a variety of delicious and nutritious recipes.

Avocados can act as a nutrient booster by helping the body to better absorb fat-soluble nutrients from foods that are eaten with this delicious fruit.”

As with all research, this study has its limitations. Since the participants were overweight or obese, these findings cannot be translated to people who are at a healthy weight. In addition, future studies are needed to investigate the impact of longer-term daily avocado intake on markers of cognitive health across the lifespan, as well as potential influence of other nutrients in avocados with neurocognitive potential.

Did you know you can freeze avocados? I have some helpful tips on choosing the best avocados and storing them so they last longer.”

Marisa Moore, MBA, RDN

Marisa Moore, MBA, RDNMarisa Moore, MBA, RDN is a nationally recognized registered dietitian nutritionist and communications and culinary nutrition expert. She helps busy people get on the path to lifelong health one morsel at a time. Her integrative and practical approach to providing simple and delicious recipes coupled with science-based nutrition advice is regularly featured in the nation’s leading media outlets including CNN, the TODAY Show, Dr. Oz. Show, Women’s Health, Prevention, and many more. She is a consultant to food and nutrition companies, contributing editor for Food and Nutrition Magazine and contributor to People, U.S. News and World Report, EatingWell and others. Before launching her consultancy, Marisa worked as an outpatient dietitian, corporate nutritionist for a restaurant chain, and managed the employee worksite nutrition program at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She now spends her days doing a variety of work in front of and behind the camera as a media dietitian and content creator at MarisaMoore.com.  When Marisa isn’t in front of the camera or cooking up something in the kitchen, you can find her doing yoga, salsa dancing or hanging out with her dog, Biscuit.


Study overview | Published studyEffects of 12-week avocado consumption on cognitive function among adults with overweight and obesity published in the International Journal of Psychophysiology

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Music by Dave Birk

Produced by JAG in Detroit Podcasts


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