A diet rich in anthocyanins (berries) may help lower the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, according to a new study.
Moreover, a flavonoid-rich diet, including apples and oranges, may cut the chances of developing the disease by up to 40% in men.
The study’s lead author is Dr. Xiang Gao, from the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston. He says flavonoids may have neuroprotective effects.
Parkinson’s affects nerve cells in several parts of the brain and central nervous system, particularly those that use the chemical messenger dopamine to control movement—especially the substantia nigra region of the brain.
Flavonoids are secondary plant metabolites found in many fruits and berries. They are known for their pigments and antioxidants, which have been suggested to have neuroprotective properties. A 2007 study by Tarozzi et al suggested that anthocyanins “may play an important role in brain health promotion, due to their ability to increase cell antioxidant capacity.”
Five major foods rich in flavonoids are: tea, berries, apples, red wine and oranges or orange juice.
Regular consumption of anthocyanins was found to be associated with a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease in both men and women.
American Academy of Neurology 63rd Annual Meeting Abstract