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Antioxidant Found In Berries May Reduce the Risk of Parkinson's

A diet rich in anthocyanins may lower the risk of Parkinson's according to researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health. Their findings will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 63rd Annual Meeting in April 2011.

Anthocyanins are flavonoid compounds found most abundantly in berries. Flavonoids are antioxidants found in plants and have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.

The researchers analyzed data on over 50,000 men and over 80,000 women who participated in the Health Professional Follow-up Study and Nurses' Health Study.

After 20 years of follow-up, the researchers looked into the link between Parkinson's and anthocyanin intake by measuring the consumption of five anthocyanin rich foods: tea, berries, apples, red wine and oranges or orange juice.

The researchers found that men in the highest 20% of anthocyanin intake were 35% less likely to develop Parkinson's compared to those in the lowest 20%.

There was no relationship found between overall flavonoid consumption and dementia risk for women.

This study adds more hard science to back the various benefits of anthocyanins which have been shown to aid in weight management, reduce cholesterol and even possibly prevent some cancers.

Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries are all excellent sources of anthocyanins, and they are easy to incorporate into the diet via smoothies, pancakes and yogurts.

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