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MUFA-rich foods up intelligence; Now we have another reason to add olive oil and nuts to our daily diet

''MUFAs are related to a very specific brain network, the dorsal attentional network, and how optimal this network is functionally organised,'' says a researcher.

Edited by: India TV Lifestyle Desk, New Delhi [ Updated: September 09, 2017 18:56 IST ]
Olive oil, nuts
Olive oil and nuts are good for brain

We all know benefits of olive oil and nuts. While we have been consistently insisted by our moms to include nuts in our plate, the olive oil phenomenon is still new to Indians. Now, a recent research has found that food rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) like olive oils, nuts and avocados are associated with general intelligence.

The researchers found that general intelligence was associated with the brain's dorsal attention network, which plays a central role in attention-demanding tasks and everyday problem solving. In particular, general intelligence was found to be associated with how efficiently the dorsal attention network is functionally organised, the researchers said. The study found that this relationship with is driven by the correlation between MUFAs and the organisation of the brain's attention network.

"Our findings provide novel evidence that MUFAs are related to a very specific brain network, the dorsal attentional network, and how optimal this network is functionally organised," said lead author Aron Barbey, professor at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign. "This is important because if we want to develop nutritional interventions that are effective at enhancing cognitive performance, we need to understand the ways that these nutrients influence brain function," Barbey said. For the study, published in the journal NeuroImage, the team examined the relationship between groups of fatty acids and brain networks that underlie general intelligence. 

In doing so, they sought to understand if brain network organization mediated the relationship between fatty acids and general intelligence. In turn, they found that those with higher levels of MUFAs in their blood had greater small-world propensity in their dorsal attention network. The findings suggest a pathway by which MUFAs affect cognition, the researchers noted. "Our results suggest that if we want to understand the relationship between MUFAs and general intelligence, we need to take the dorsal attention network into account. It's part of the underlying mechanism that contributes to their relationship," Barbey added. 

Olive oil not only activates functioning of brain but also prevents from heart diseases. Weight loss, cholestrol control, blood pressure regulation are among other benefits of this oil.  On the other hand, nuts are rich in fibre and Vitamin E.

(With IANS inputs)

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