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Antioxidant-Rich Diet May Reduce the Risk of Parkinson's

Think a healthy diet is important only for weight management and heart health? Well, this recent study showing that Parkinson's disease may be linked to diet will make you think again.

This study was conducted by researchers with several universities in Japan and was published online ahead of print on December 5, 2011, in the European Journal of Neurology.

To determine the effect of diet on Parkinson's disease, the researchers recruited 249 individuals who were recently diagnosed with Parkinson's and 368 individuals without the disease. After administering a validated diet history questionnaire to determine what types of food the participants consumed the previous month, the researchers identified 3 dietary patterns:

• “Healthy” diet, which included a lot of fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, beans, mushrooms, and seaweed

• “Western” diet, which was dominated by red meat consumption, animal fats, and processed meat

• “Light Meals,” which were diets existing halfway between the “Healthy” and “Western.”

The researchers noted that individuals who consumed the “Healthy” diet, especially high amounts of fish and plant foods, were almost half as likely to get Parkinson's as the individuals who consumed more meats and animal fats. Neither the “Light Meals” or the “Western” diet showed any protective effect.

More research is needed to determine the exact effect of diet on Parkinson's disease, but the researchers in this study believe these findings could be a result of the high antioxidants levels of fruits, vegetables, and fish. Antioxidants are powerful nutrients that fight damage to your body through environment or diet.

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