Berries May Lower Parkinson’s Risk

February 23, 2011

New research shows men and women who regularly eat berries may have a lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Chocolate also lowers the risk so get out the strawberries and have a feast! Men may also further lower their risk by regularly eating apples, oranges and other sources rich in dietary components called flavonoids. The study was released last week and will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 63rd Annual Meeting in Honolulu.

Flavonoids are to be included in your daily diet wherever possible as they have a host of health benefits. They are found in berries of all kinds, chocolate, red wine, apples and citrus fruits such as grapefruit.

This is a 20 year large scale study of over 130,000 men and women who were given questionnaires which was then used to calculate their intake of flavonoids and this was then analyzed for any association with the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease

The men who consumed the most flavonoids were about 40 percent less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than those who consumed the least. This was not the case in women where no connection could be seen. However, when sub-classes of flavonoids were examined, regular consumption of anthocyanins, which are mainly obtained from berries, were found to be associated with a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease in both men and women.

Study author Xiang Gao, MD, PhD, with the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, said “Our findings suggest that flavonoids, specifically a group called anthocyanins, may have neuroprotective effects. If confirmed, flavonoids may be a natural and healthy way to reduce your risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.”

So eat lots of fruit, stock up on berries of all kinds in particular, have the odd glass of red wine and bar of chocolate, and you can feel confident you are doing your best to reduce your risk.


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