flavonoids reduce the risk dying with Parkinson's

Recent research has begun to suggest that what you eat can affect your risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Now it is beginning to suggest that it can even affect your chances of living longer if you have it.

Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disease in the world. It affects millions of people. Though Parkinson’s is not considered a fatal disease, its complications can increase the risk of death.

Science is beginning to suggest a role for diet. If you have Parkinson’s, a diet that is low in protein helps. So does eating beans, especially fava beans. Drinking milk may increase your risk of Parkinson’s (Eur J Epidemiol. 2014 Sep;29(9):613-9). And recently it was discovered that a Mediterranean diet, which is rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, beans and olive oil, lowers your risk of Parkinson’s.

One reason that diets like the Mediterranean diet might help is because of the flavonoids. A just published study followed 1,251 people for 32-34 years. It found that people who got the most flavonoids in their diets after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s had a significantly lower risk of dying during the three plus decades of the study.

As for before being diagnosed, the study found a significant benefit for men but not for women; though there was a nonsignificant trend towards lower mortality in women. The finding for women is, perhaps, unexpected, since the Mediterranean diet study that found a preventative effect included only women.

The study’s lead author said that "Adding a few servings of flavonoid-rich foods to their diets a week could potentially be an easy way for people with [Parkinson’s] to help improve their life expectancy,"

Neurology. 2022 Jan 26;10.1212/WNL.0000000000013275

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