The study published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, analysed 60 adults aged 25 to 45, and found that middle-aged participants with higher levels of lutein had neural responses which were found to be more on par with younger individuals than with their peers.
Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign said that loading up on these lutein rich foods can help boost overall cognitive abilities in middle-aged individuals.
"As people get older, they experience typical decline. However, the research has shown that this process can start earlier than expected. You can even start to see some differences in the 30s," said the first author of the study Anne Walk.
Walk further added, "We want to understand how diet impacts cognition throughout the lifespan. If lutein can protect against decline, we should encourage people to consume lutein-rich foods at a point in their lives when it has maximum benefit."
Alongside brain, lutein also accumulates in the eye, which allows researchers to measure its levels without relying on invasive techniques. The researchers measured lutein in the participants' eyes by making them look into a scope and respond to a flickering light. Then, using electrodes on the scalp, they measured neural activity in the brain while the participants performed cognitive tasks.
The neuro-electrical signature of older participants with higher levels of lutein matched those of their younger counterparts than their peers with less lutein.