New research has found that a specific fatty acid found in many everyday foods is linked to higher levels of intelligence.
Monounsaturated fatty acids (bit of a mouthful!) – or MUFAs – have been linked to varying types of health benefits. These good fats are found in products like avocados, nuts and olive oil. As can probably be seen from this list of foods, MUFAs are especially high in Mediterranean diets. However, the beneficial consequences of these foods in terms of intelligence were only recently discovered by a group of researchers from the University of Illinois.
The team conducted their studies from a test-pool of 99 healthy adults. Each participant provided a blood sample, intelligence test and multiple brain scans.
Results showed that those with higher levels of MUFAs in their systems outperformed those without. On top of this, the research found that having more fatty acids in your blood system actually helped with keeping your focus and attention on tasks for longer.
The next step for the researchers is to directly test whether a higher intake of MUFAs will affect cognition and intelligence through a programme of diet testing.
But hold your horses! Before you start writing on your C.V that you eat 2 avocados a day, MUFAs are only beneficial in moderation. As with seemingly everything good in our world, you can have too much of the good stuff, as over-ingestion of the fatty acids has been linked to weight gain and certain health issues.
So, will you be changing your diet? Frying with olive oil over butter? Swapping nuts for chocolate as a snack? We’re certainly going to give the Mediterranean diet a go, even if it is just an excuse to eat more avocado!