A Mediterranean-Style Diet ‘Halves The Risk Of Parkinson's Disease'

Mediterranean Diet Parkinsons

The Huffington Post UK   First Posted: 19/01/12 15:46 Updated: 19/01/12 16:00

According to Japanese scientists, a daily Mediterranean-style diet could potentially halve the risk of Parkinson’s disease.

The study, by the University of Tokyo, studied the eating habits of 249 newly-diagnosed Parkinson’s patients and compared them to 368 healthy volunteers.

Researchers then split the participants into three groups of ‘healthy’ diets (consisting of fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, pulses, mushrooms), ‘western’ (high number of red meat, processed foods and animal fats) and ‘light meals’ (roughly half way between the two).

The study discovered that those placed in the ‘healthy’ category had a 46% less chance of developing Parkinson’s than those who ate little or none of the foods in the ‘healthy’ food group. They also found that the remaining two diets had no protective effect against the disease.

“A dietary pattern consisting of high intakes of vegetables, fruits and fish may be associated with a decreased risk of Parkinson’s disease,” a spokesperson from the study has said.

These findings, published in the European Journal of Neurology, claim that Parkinson’s disease is more likely to occur when cells in the body undergo oxidative stress.

However, if a person eats a rich diet of fruit and vegetables, which are all well known for their antioxidant properties, their diet will help block the oxidation process.

The results back up previous studies that claim a fruit and vegetable-rich diet plays a key role in preventing Parkinson’s disease, a condition that currently affects over 120,000 people in the UK.

According to Parkinson’s UK, the symptoms most often associated with Parkinson's are tremor (shaking), slowness of movement and rigidity. However, there are many other symptoms of Parkinson's, not all of which affect movement.

The different types of Parkinson's symptoms are often divided into 2 categories: motor symptoms and non-motor symptoms. Motor symptoms are related to movement, while non-motor symptoms include problems such as pain, depression, constipation and sweating. For advice and support visit Parkinson’s UK.

It’s not the first time scientists have pointed to a rich fruit and vegetable diet as a way of boosting our health. Recently researchers discovered that fruit and vegetable juices help keep skin cells healthy and complexions radiant while other studies claim fruit and vegetable diets beat heart disease – and even boosts male fertility.

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  • Foods Of The Mediterranean

  • Tomato

    Tomatoes provide an excellent amount of vitamin C and beta-carotene; a very good amount of the mineral manganese; and a good amount of vitamin E. They're also a rich source of antioxidants.

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    Extra virgin olive oil is packed full of polyphenols, which have been shown to function both as antioxidants and also as anti-inflammatory nutrients in the body.

  • Peppers

    All peppers are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, but red peppers are simply bursting with them. Antioxidant vitamins A and C help to prevent cell damage, cancer, and diseases related to aging, and they support immune function. They also reduce inflammation like that found in arthritis and asthma. Vitamin K promotes proper blood clotting, strengthens bones, and helps protect cells from oxidative damage.

  • Feta Cheese

    Feta cheese is much lower in fat than ordinary cheeses and contain more protein, but less salt. Adding protein rich feta to salads and wraps will boost your protein intake while adding a rich, tangy flavor without adding many calories.

  • Olives

    Olives are technically classified as fruits of the Olea europea tree, but many commonly think about olives not as fruit but as a zesty vegetable that can be added are harvested in September but available year round to make a zesty addition to salads, meat and poultry dishes and, of course, pizza.

  • Couscous

    Couscous is a grain food that is comparable to pasta or rice. It is made of semolina wheat that is moistened and then formed into tiny grain shapes. Couscous contains twice the content of niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and folic acid compared to pasta. It also contains more thiamine and pantothenic acid.

  • Pulses

    Pulses are low fat, high fibre, no cholesterol, low glycemic index, high protein, high nutrient foods. They are excellent foods for people managing their diabetes, heart disease or coeliac disease. Pulses are also good for people who want to eat healthy food to help reduce their risk of heart disease or diabetes. Additionally, pulses can help people concerned with weight control.