It can be exhausting trying to keep up with all the new research coming out each week telling you what (or what not) to eat. To streamline the process of sifting the science, here's a roundup of some of the findings just from August alone that you may want to start incorporating into your diet.
Avocados are awesome for aging: In a study that was funded by the Hass Avocado Board and published in the peer-reviewed journal Nutrients, researchers found that an avocado a day might keep cognitive decline away. Avocados contain a pigment called lutein that may be beneficial for keeping both your eyes and mind sharp.
"The results of this study suggest that the monounsaturated fats, fiber, lutein and other bioactives make avocados particularly effective at enriching neural lutein levels, which may provide benefits for not only eye health, but for brain health," said Elizabeth Johnson, Ph.D., lead investigator of the study at Tufts University. "Thus, a balanced diet that includes fresh avocados may be an effective strategy for cognitive health."
Red raspberries' raft of benefits: A series of studies funded by the National Processed Raspberry Council and published in the peer-reviewed FASEB Journal finds those fingertip-staining berries might be sweet in a number of ways.
The researchers caution the studies are preliminary and no hard conclusions can be drawn before more investigations are done, but early evidence suggests the crimson berries may help with blood sugar control, hunger supression, obesity, type 2 diabetes, gut or microbiome health and reducing inflammation.
Drink up! (In moderation): Taking the edge off with a daily drink could up your chances of living to age 85 without dementia or other types of cognitive impairments, according to a recent study out of the University of California-San Diego. This is not a license to go an a bender, though. The benefits were shown among those that drank moderately on a regular basis and the study cohort was a pretty homogenous group of mostly white, middle-class people in the San Diego area.
"This study shows that moderate drinking may be part of a healthy lifestyle to maintain cognitive fitness in aging," said lead author Erin Richard, a graduate student in the Joint San Diego State University/UC San Diego Doctoral Program in Public Health. "However, it is not a recommendation for everyone to drink. Some people have health problems that are made worse by alcohol, and others cannot limit their drinking to only a glass or two per day. For these people, drinking can have negative consequences."
Almonds attack heart disease: Those funky-shaped nuts are already known to be good for your heart, but new research finds that in addition to lowering certain types of cholesterol, they also assist in removing the potentially hazardous stuff from the body.
"If people incorporate almonds into their diet, they should expect multiple benefits, including ones that can improve heart health," said Penny Kris-Etherton, professor of nutrition at Pennsylvania State University. "They're not a cure-all, but when eaten in moderation -- and especially when eaten instead of a food of lower nutritional value -- they're a great addition to an already healthy diet."
Walnuts to replace your diet pill? New double-blind tests have found that walnuts can make you feel full. A week of eating walnut-containing smoothies appeared to have an impact on the part of the brain that may have something to do with impulse control.
"When participants eat walnuts, this part of their brain lights up," said Christos Mantzoros, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. "We know that's connected with what they are telling us about feeling less hungry or more full."
Fatty fish for all: It's already known that the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish such as tuna, salmon and trout are beneficial, but the latest research confirms those pros and discovered that they also have anti-inflammatory properties.
"Our research group hopes that this one day will benefit patients with different forms of cancer, meningitis, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease or jaundice," reads a press release from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. "But we must emphasize that a lot of work remains."
One caveat: Before you chow down on a smorgasbord of fresh fatty fish, wine, berries and nuts, consider one other piece of recent science that suggests another key to the fountain of youth may be a low-calorie diet.
So eat healthy, but don't over-do it. Now please pass the guacamole.