Eating berries may protect against Parkinson’s disease

Men and women who regularly eat berries may reduce their risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). The researchers, led by Xiang Gao, research scientist in HSPH’s Department of Nutrition, believe the high flavonoid content in berries, apples and oranges help ward off the disease. Study participants who consumed the most flavonoids were 40% less likely to develop Parkinson’s.

“This is the first study in humans to examine the association between flavonoids and risk of developing Parkinson’s disease,” Gao said in a press release issued by the American Academy of Neurology. “Our findings suggest that flavonoids, specifically a group called anthocyanins, may have neuroprotective effects. If confirmed, flavonoids may be a natural and healthy way to reduce your risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.”

The study will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting in April 2011.

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