Not only are berries a tasty way to get your five a day, a study has now found that men who eat plenty of the fruit are less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease.
Berries could protect against Parkinson's disease
Berries, tea, apples and red wine are all high in flavonoids, the antioxidants found in plants. Flavonoids are thought to trigger enzymes that reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and age-related degenerative diseases.
To look at the effects of flavonoids on Parkinson’s disease, research teams at Harvard University and the University of East Anglia followed 130,000 men and women for 20 years.
The researchers analysed the diet and lifestyle of the participants. Whilst 800 developed Parksinson's over the 20 year period, those who ate the most flavonoids were 40 per cent less likely to develop the condition than those who ate the least.
When they looked only at berries, they found that those who ate a portion of berries a week were 25 per cent less likely to develop the disease than those who ate few or no berries.
Parkinson's disease is a chronic neurological condition that affects around 120,000 people in the UK. Parkinson's affects the way the brain co-ordinates body movements, including walking, talking and writing.
Writing in the journal Neurology, the authors said their findings must now be confirmed by other large scale epidemiological studies and clinical trials. But this is thought to be the first study in humans that shows that flavonoids can protect brain cells.
Lead author Dr Xiang Gao of Harvard School of Public Health said: “Participants who consumed one or more portions of berry fruits each week were around 25 per cent less likely to develop Parkinson's disease, relative to those who did not eat berry fruits.
“Given the other potential health effects of berry fruits, such as lowering risk of hypertension as reported in our previous studies, it is good to regularly add these fruits to your diet."
Since Parkinson’s disease is considered a chronic condition, it is unlikely to be covered by private medical insurance. For more information call one of our advisors or compare health insurance policies online now.
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