Medical science has long understood that berries are healing foods, with nearly unparalleled concentrations of nutritional value in their tiny, round bodies. Well, here is a new piece of evidence about these healing foods that come in so many flavors and colors. Researchers have found that adults who regularly eat berries may have a lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. The key is “flavonoids.”
A good fruit intake each week is an important element of any path to nutrition. Flavonoids are found in plants and fruits and are also known collectively as “vitamin P” and “citrin.” They can also be found in berry fruits, chocolate, and citrus fruits such as grapefruit.
The study involved 49,281 men and 80,336 women. Researchers gave participants questionnaires and used a database to calculate intake amount of flavonoids. They then analyzed the association between flavonoid intakes and risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. They also analyzed consumption of five major sources of foods rich in flavonoids: tea; berries; apples; red wine; and oranges or orange juice. The participants were followed for 20 to 22 years.
During that time, 805 people developed Parkinson’s disease. In men, the top 20% who consumed the most flavonoids were about 40% less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than the bottom 20% who consumed the least amount of flavonoids. For men, while berries led the way, they could also lower their risk further by regularly eating apples, oranges and other sources of flavonoids.
In women, unfortunately, there was no relationship between overall flavonoid consumption and developing Parkinson’s disease. But when they looked more closely at one specific flavonoid — anthocyanin — they found it did lower Parkinson’s risk in both men and women. And where are anthocyanins found in the greatest abundance? Berries.
This is the first study in people to examine the association between flavonoids and risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. It is very encouraging and offers further proof that food is medicine. Invisible chemicals in berries and other fruit have amazing protective effects on the neurons in our brains. Once this is confirmed in other studies, flavonoids may be a natural and healthy way to reduce your risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
In the meantime, just keep on eating berries to your heart’s content.