A study released in September 2017 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, shows monounsaturated fatty acids (the kind found in avocados, nuts, and olive oil) could play an important role in brain organization and intelligence.
Although the study was only small, it monitored the levels of monounsaturated fat (MUFA) in the blood of 99 healthy adults, alongside brain scan MRIs and general intelligence tests. The MRI results evaluated the efficiency of participants’ brain networks, a potential indicator for intelligence. Participants who ate more MUFAs seemed to have more efficient networks, based on their scans.
In other words, more avocados, olive oil, and other fatty foods are likely related to more efficient brain patterns, and therefore greater intelligence. Low-fat diets showed less efficient brain patterns – and potentially could inhibit your intellect.
“Historically, the approach has been to focus on individual nutrients,” said Dr. Aron Barbey, one of the professors involved in the study. “But we know that dietary intake doesn’t depend on any one specific nutrient; rather, it reflects broader dietary patterns.”
The dietary patterns involving more of the healthy MUFAs caused noticeable differences in the brain’s dorsal attention network, the portion responsible for attention span and focus on stimulus-driven tasks. The more avocados you eat, the better you could be at paying attention. The findings suggest that these functions of attention span play a pivotal role in our overall intelligence.
“This gives us evidence of the mechanisms by which nutrition affects intelligence,” Barbey says, “and motivates promising new directions for future research in nutritional cognitive neuroscience.”
There’s also a valid suggestion that if you have trouble paying attention and concentrating, (e.g. in class at school or university), perhaps an avocado might solve more than just your hunger!
Vol 161, pages 241-250
“Nutritional status, brain network organization and general intelligence”
Authors: Marta T. Zamroziewicz, M. Tanveer Talukdar, Chris E. Zwilling, Dr. Aron K. Barbey