Can This Nutrient Stop Brain Aging?


Researchers at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana may have found the very thing that could stop aging and no, it's not the fabled fountain of youth. An essential nutrient called lutein might protect the brain from aging. Avocado happens to be one of the richest sources of lutein. 

The study involved tracking the mental capacity of 60 adults ages between 20 and 45 years old. Some of the participants have high levels of lutein in their eyes and brains, others don't. The scientists concluded that older participants with high lutein levels in the brain displayed similar cognitive function as the younger participants. 

Lutein in avocados found to protect the brain from effects of aging

(Natural News) A new study showed that while green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale are a staple food of people who are looking to stay fit, they can also be used by people who are looking to retain their brain power. According to the study that was published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience and was conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, this was because these vegetables contained lutein, a carotenoid that, along with zeaxanthin, is usually associated with vision health.

Lutein cannot be manufactured by the body alone, and so must be obtained via diet.

Since lutein can be directly and non-invasively measured in central nervous system tissue (the retina), and its levels correlate strongly with dietary intake, serum levels, and brain concentrations, it provides a powerful biomarker and means of testing how diet might influence the brain,” Dr. Naiman Khan, professor of kinesiology and community health at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana said.

As people get older, they experience typical decline. However, research has shown that this process can start earlier than expected. You can even start to see some differences in the 30s. We want to understand how diet impacts cognition throughout the lifespan. If lutein can protect against the decline, we should encourage people to consume lutein-rich foods at a point in their lives when it has maximum benefit,” said first author and postdoctoral scholar Anne Walk.

Now there’s an additional reason to eat nutrient-rich foods such as green, leafy vegetables, eggs, and avocados,” Dr. Khan said. (Related: Lutein boosts eye health, preventing cataracts and macular degeneration.)

Image courtesy of: bgmills

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