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Berries could lower Parkinson's disease risk for men and women

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Berries and Parkinson's disease risk

Eating berries could stave off Parkinson's disease for men and women, suggests new research.
The findings also showed men can further reduce their risk of the disease by eating more apples and oranges that are rich in flavonoids, an important dietary component with antioxidant properties.

For the study that was authored by Xiang Gao, MD, PhD, with the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, 49,281 men and 80,336 women were followed for 20 to 22 years and analyzed for their risk of developing Parkinson's disease relative to flavonoid intake, submitted via questionnaires.

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The scientists focused on consumption of tea, berries, apples, red wine and oranges or orange juice. During the study period, 805 people developed Parkinson’s disease. Men who consumed the highest amount of flavonoids were 40 percent less likely to develop the disease, compared to those in the lower 20 percentile for flavonoid consumption.

Dr. Gao said in a press release, “This is the first study in humans to examine the association between flavonoids and risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. 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.”

The study found for both men and women, eating berries that contain anthocyanins, was associated with a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease, and may be an easy way to prevent the disease that destroys quality of life and can lead to total disability.

AAN Press Release