- A new study has found a link between eating a Mediterranean diet and delayed onset of Parkinson’s disease.
- Parkinson’s is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that is not currently a cure.
- Researchers assessed people who followed both the Mediterranean and the very similar MIND diet, both of which focus on vegetables, legumes, seafood, olive oil and wine in moderation.
- They found that women who followed the MIND diet most closely developed Parkinson’s symptoms 17.4 years later than those whose adherence was lowest.
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Eating a Mediterranean diet is linked to the later onset of Parkinson̵
According to researchers at the University of British Columbia, women who follow a Mediterranean-style diet – which was recently named the best diet in the world and not for the first time – could delay Parkinson’s disease by up to 17.4 years and 8.4 years. for men.
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that is not currently curable. It happens when cells in the brain stop working and the brain cannot then produce enough of the hormone dopamine to control the body, leading to tremors, decreased muscles and stiffness. According to Parkinson’s UK, it is the fastest growing neurological condition in the world.
The researchers studied two diets: Mediterranean and MIND diets, which are largely similar, both focusing on vegetables, legumes, seafood, olive oil and wine in moderation.
Similarly, both diets encourage minimal consumption of processed and fried foods, red meat, refined grains, added sugars and saturated fats, as Insiders Gabby Landsverk reported.
However, there are small differences between the two – the MIND diet (which is based on the Mediterranean and the DASH diet) emphasizes green leafy vegetables, berries, beans, whole grains and poultry, as Business Insider Erin Brodwin reported. It also discourages fruit, milk and potatoes.
The researchers found that women reaped the most benefits from the MIND diet, meanwhile, the Mediterranean diet had a greater positive effect on men.
The study assessed a total of 286 Canadian participants, of whom 167 had Parkinson’s onset (i.e., the first symptoms that appeared) in the previous 12 years, and 119 were a control group.
68% of participants with Parkinson’s were men, compared with 39% in the control group, but men are 1.5 times more likely to have the disease than women, according to Parkinsons.org.
Adherence to the MIND or Mediterranean diet was assessed for each participant taking into account other health markers, such as exercise, smoking, and diabetes.
The researchers found a link between MIND diet compliance and the later onset of Parkinson’s, especially for women. Women who followed the MIND diet most closely were found to have Parkinson’s onset 17.4 years later than those whose adherence was lowest.
It is important to note that coherence does not mean causality, and the researchers note that there are limitations in the study, but they are enthusiastic about the results.
“The study shows that people with Parkinson’s disease have a significantly later onset age if their eating patterns are strictly consistent with the Mediterranean diet. The difference shown in the study was up to 17 years later in women and eight years later in men,” said Dr. Silke Appel-Cresswell of the Pacific Parkinson’s Research Center, the Djavad Mowafaghian Center for Brain Health and the Division of Neurology at the UBC Faculty of Medicine.
She continued: “There is a lack of medication to prevent or delay Parkinson’s disease, but we are optimistic that this new evidence suggests that nutrition could potentially delay the onset of the disease.”
The MIND diet was originally designed to minimize cognitive decline, and it has previously been linked to the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, but the new study is the first study of the effect of the MIND diet on those with Parkinson’s disease.
However, research supports a previous study that showed that the MIND diet could reduce the incidence and delay the progression of Parkinson’s disease.
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