Foods rich in vitamin C and E can 'slash Parkinson's risk by a third'

Eating broccoli, red peppers and other foods high in vitamin C and E can slash Parkinson’s risk by a THIRD, study shows

  • Researchers tracked 41,000 adults to monitor their vitamin consumption
  • People who consumed more vitamin C and E had a lower risk of Parkinson’s 
  • This is due to the fact these vitamins contain high levels of antioxidants
  • These antioxidants are said to boost dopamine production which can improve movement and balance, and in turn reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s 

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.

It is believed antioxidants, found in abundance in vitamin C and E, help counteract unstable molecules and the resulting oxidative stress that depletes dopamine

The devastating disorder is a growing problem worldwide. Famous sufferers include Sir Billy Connolly, Sweet Caroline singer Neil Diamond and actor Michael J Fox

WHICH FOODS ARE RICH IN VITAMIN C AND E? 

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.

Combined , these foods have an even greater affect on reducing Parkinson’s risk. 

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.

They were asked to report how often they consumed various foods and beverages in the past year, including portion sizes. Supplements were not considered.

For vitamin consumption, they were divided into three equal groups depending on their intake. 

During the project, 465 people were diagnosed with Parkinson’s – with those in the highest third 32 per cent less prone to the disease than those in the lowest.

This was after adjusting for factors like age, sex, BMI and physical activity. What’s more, the results were virtually exactly the same – for either vitamin. 

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

Dr Hantikainen said it underlines the importance of increasing the amounts of healthy foods we consume to protect our health.

But he also pointed out excess intake of some vitamins may be harmful. For example, too much vitamin E from supplements has been linked to some cancers or stroke.

Dr Hantikainen added: ‘More research is needed to investigate the exact amounts of vitamins C and E that may be most beneficial for reducing the risk of Parkinson’s.’ 

The findings have been published in the journal Neurology. 

WHAT IS PARKINSON’S? THE INCURABLE DISEASE THAT STRUCK BOXER MUHAMMAD ALI 

Parkinson’s disease affects one in 500 people, including about one million Americans.

It causes muscle stiffness, slowness of movement, tremors, sleep disturbance, chronic fatigue, an impaired quality of life and can lead to severe disability.

It is a progressive neurological condition that destroys cells in the part of the brain that controls movement.

Sufferers are known to have diminished supplies of dopamine because nerve cells that make it have died.

There is currently no cure and no way of stopping the progression of the disease, but hundreds of scientific trials are underway to try and change that. 

The disease claimed the life of boxing legend Muhammad Ali in 2016.

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