Men who eat foods rich in flavonoids – such as berries, apples, wine and tea – may significantly reduce their risk of developing Parkinson's disease, according to new research.
The findings, by Harvard University and the University of East Anglia, add to the growing body of research that has linked daily consumption of flavonoid-rich foods to better health, including a lower risk of heart disease, hypertension, cancer and dementia.
The new study, published in the journal Neurology, involved 130,000 men and women, about 800 of whom developed Parkinson's disease over a 20-year period. A detailed analysis of study participants’ diets found men who ate the most flavonoids were 40 percent less likely to develop the disease than those who ate the least. No similar link was found for flavonoid intake in women.
"These exciting findings provide further confirmation that regular consumption of flavonoids can have potential health benefits," said co-researcher Aedin Cassidy, of the Department of Nutrition at UEA. "This is the first study in humans to look at the associations between the range of flavonoids in the diet and the risk of developing Parkinson's disease."
Parkinson's disease affects one in 500 people.