Eating foods high in vitamin C and E such as broccoli, seeds and red peppers can help slash the risk of developing Parkinson’s by a third, a new study reveals.
Researchers from the University of Milano-Bicocca monitored 41,000 adults in Sweden for an average of 18 years, recording their vitamin intake, BMI and activity levels.
None of the participants had Parkinson’s at the start of the study, but by the end, 465 people had been diagnosed with the disease.
Those in the highest third of vitamin intake were 32 per cent less prone to the disease, according to the researchers.
With Parkinson’s, the brain doesn’t produce enough dopamine – the hormone that control movements – leading to problems with speech, walking and balance.
It is believed antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, may help counteract unstable molecules and the resulting oxidative stress that can lead to dopamine loss.
‘Our large study found vitamin C and vitamin E were each linked to a 32 per cent lower risk of Parkinson’s disease,’ said lead author Dr Essi Hantikainen.
Vitamin C is found in a wide variety of fruit and vegetables including broccoli, peppers, sweet potatoes, oranges and strawberries.
Broccoli is also abundant in vitamin E – along with olive oil, nuts, seeds, spinach and cereals – and combined they have an even greater affect on reducing Parkinson’s risk.
The devastating disorder is a growing problem worldwide.
Famous sufferers include Sir Billy Connolly, Sweet Caroline singer Neil Diamond and actor Michael J Fox.
Dr Hantikainen said improving diet is a known way to improve overall health – but research on exactly how this affects Parkinson’s risk has been mixed.
He went on: ‘The possibility of being able to reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease simply with the foods we eat is encouraging news.’
In the study, the participants completed questionnaires about medical history, height, weight and lifestyle factors like diet and amount of exercise. Their BMI was also calculated.