February 14, 2011
Berry Eaters Less Likely To Get Parkinson's Disease

Berries are better.

ST. PAUL, Minn. –New research shows men and women who regularly eat berries may have a lower risk of developing Parkinson's disease, while men may also further lower their risk by regularly eating apples, oranges and other sources rich in dietary components called flavonoids. The study was released today and will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 63rd Annual Meeting in Honolulu April 9 to April 16, 2011.

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.

Rise out of the ranks of the low berry consumers. Get bags of cranberries or frozen blueberries or even fresh berries when they are available.

Note the reference to anthocyanins. Those are the sugar-containing equivalents of anthocyanidins. If you aim for foods high in anthocyanins or anthocyanidins or related compounds you end up eating mostly the same foods. Proanthocyanidins (a.k.a. procyanidins) are polymers of flavonoids. In a previous post I pointed to a proanthocyanidin database (in PDF format). You can browse thru the document to look for food ideas aimed at boosting your flavonoid intake.

That USDA Procyanidin Database makes for interesting reading (at least to me). Raw pinto beans are up there with unsweetened chocolate in terms of procyanidin antioxidants and you can eat a lot more pinto beans than chocolate. But cooked pinto beans have about 2 orders of magnitude less of the good stuff. Is that accurate? Blueberries and cranberries are excellent sources. Ditto hazelnuts, pecans, and pistachios. Sorghum is highly excellent. I had no idea. But that's typically cooked. Whereas you can eat the berries and nuts raw. My advice: eat the berries and nuts.

These are familiar foods for healthy eating. You can choose to eat them for your nervous system or for your heart or to avoid cancer.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2011 February 14 04:32 PM  Aging Diet Brain Studies

Wolf-Dog said at February 14, 2011 7:06 PM:

It is possible that these berries are helpful due to neuro-antioxidant properties. Note that some of the drugs such as deprenyl which are used for Parkinson's disease, are in fact neuro-antioxidants. But on this occasion, it is important to make sure that the berries do not contain too much insecticides and fungicides, as it is often the case when they are imported from abroad.

J. Stanton - gnolls.org said at February 15, 2011 3:35 AM:

It is also possible, since this is yet another associational study, that this is simply a selection bias artifact.

1- Tell people for decades to eat more fruits and vegetables because they're good for you
2- Do a survey which shows that people who sincerely try to improve their health are...more healthy

That being said, I like berries, and have no plans to stop eating them when they're in season. But I'm naturally skeptical of these sorts of claims...especially when they involve naming new pseudo-vitamins while there is still no RDA for DHA.

KT said at February 15, 2011 11:50 AM:

Raw pinto beans (the ripe seeds if not the green pods) also contain toxins which might make you reconsider eating large amounts. Not sure if sprouting them increases or decreases the amount of toxins. As a general rule, it's a good idea to avoid eating a lot of raw legume seeds. Various species contain anti-growth factors and even hemolytic agents. Raw alfalfa sprouts contain some serious toxins. I read a study once in which feeding large amounts of raw alfalfa sprouts to young chimpanzees did some really bad things to them, though I can't remember whether they involved the liver, the brain or both.

The dosage makes the poison, however. Don't worry about eating a few raw sprouts here and there.

Post a comment
Name (not anon or anonymous):
Email Address:
Remember info?

Go Read More Posts On FuturePundit
Site Traffic Info
The contents of this site are copyright ©