It may be smart to go nuts on avocados, olive oil and dry fruit if you wish to boost your intelligence says a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign study. The monounsaturated fatty acids in these foods promote greater general intelligence in older adults it says. The results of the study were recently reported by study leader Aron K. Barbey in Neuroimage.
MUFAs or fat molecules contained in foods like avocados, olive oil, canola oil, and a range of nuts and seeds are considered healthy as they bring down the levels of “bad” low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in the blood and thereby reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. The new study tried to find out whether the brain too might benefits from MUFAs. The study involved 99 healthy older adults.
General intelligence tests and functional MRI of the brain were conducted on all subjects, enabling the scientists to calculate brain activity in certain networks. The study linked general intelligence to the dorsal attention network, a region of the brain involved in problem-solving and goal-directed attention.
It further showed that adults who had higher MUFA levels in their blood demonstrated “greater small-world propensity in the dorsal attention network,” and the team observed an association between higher MUFA levels and greater general intelligence.
For more read How avocados and nuts could boost intelligence