Vegatables and fruits include many vitamins and minerals that play an essential function in serving to us keep good well being. Take flavonoids, for instance. These are a bunch of naturally occurring compounds which can be discovered in lots of meals – together with citrus fruits, berries, crimson wine and even darkish chocolate.
Flavonoids act as antioxidants, which assist to forestall or sluggish harm to cells which can result in ailments – corresponding to most cancers. Additionally they scale back irritation within the physique, which is frequent in lots of continual ailments – together with neurodegenerative ones, corresponding to Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s illness.
Analysis exhibits that flavonoids are good for our mind well being, with research displaying diets excessive in fruits and veggies could sluggish cognitive decline and decrease dementia threat. And now, a current research has recommended that individuals with Parkinson’s illness who devour diets excessive in flavonoids could dwell longer than those that don’t.
To conduct their research, a crew of researchers analysed knowledge from 121,700 feminine registered nurses and 51,529 male well being professionals. They selected to take a look at these two teams as a result of many points of their life which could affect their illness threat could be related – corresponding to exercise ranges, training and years in work. Data on their diets has been gathered each two to 4 years, starting in 1975 for the ladies and 1986 for the boys. The information from these teams has been utilized in many different top quality diet research.
On the time when this new research was carried out, 599 of the ladies and 652 of the boys had been recognized with Parkinson’s illness. From the meals these ladies and men reported consuming, it was doable to calculate their consumption of flavonoids.
It was discovered that the boys with Parkinson’s illness who ate essentially the most flavonoids as a part of their weight-reduction plan had a 47% decrease threat of dying from any trigger in comparison with males who consumed the least flavonoids of their weight-reduction plan. However for girls, the quantity of flavonoids they consumed of their weight-reduction plan had no impact on their threat of loss of life from all causes. So the tentative conclusion from this research is that flavonoids could scale back the danger of males with Parkinson’s illness from dying, though not in girls. It’s not at present identified why the boys noticed larger profit.
As with every observational diet research of this kind – the place researchers merely observe outcomes with out attempting to intervene within the group (corresponding to intervening by having half of the group eat a particular weight-reduction plan) – it’s not doable to show a causal hyperlink. Within the case of the current research, a causal hyperlink would imply that consuming extra flavonoids immediately reduces the danger of males with Parkinson’s illness from dying.
A essential cause for not having the ability to show causality is that different dietary and life-style elements can also have contributed to extending lifespan. The authors did compensate for this to some extent by making statistical changes for different probably helpful vitamins – corresponding to beta-carotene and the antioxidant nutritional vitamins C and E – and for presumably damaging life-style elements corresponding to smoking, being chubby and never exercising sufficient.
However this nonetheless doesn’t take note of many different dietary, life-style and genetic elements that would contribute to an individual’s threat. One instance is publicity to herbicides and pesticides.
One issue that did affect the research’s outcomes was the kind of flavonoids they checked out. There are a lot of various kinds of flavonoids, and two teams – referred to as anthocyanins and flavan-3-ols – have been discovered on this research to be most strongly linked to prolonging life. Anthocyanins give berries and crimson wine their crimson and purple colors, and flavan-3-ols are discovered at excessive ranges in inexperienced tea.
But it surely’s not identified how these flavonoids could profit the mind. As with different degenerative mind problems, the development of Parkinson’s illness is prone to contain oxidative stress (when too many extremely reactive molecules, known as free radicals, are produced for antioxidant defences to deal with) and mind irritation. Many flavonoids, together with anthocyanins and flavan-3-ols, have been proven in experimental research to have antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties.
Different mechanisms can also be concerned. Flavonoids can have a optimistic impact on the intestine microbiome, which can lower the irritation that contributes to Parkinson’s. Additionally, as Parkinson’s illness progresses, many neurological pathways such because the dopamine pathway are affected. Dopamine performs a significant function in regulating motion by the physique. However the doable function of flavonoids in enhancing the functioning of those pathways is just not identified.
Although this research examined threat of loss of life in individuals who already had Parkinson’s illness, different research have additionally proven that diets excessive in flavonoids decrease the danger of growing Parkinson’s illness. The profit was additionally proven to be larger in males – though once more it’s not clear why.
Whereas there are a lot of elements which may have influenced the outcomes of this newest research, there’s nonetheless a very good physique of proof suggesting that diets wealthy in flavonoids will help defend in opposition to many degenerative mind problems – together with Parkinson’s illness. And happily for us, flavonoids are discovered in lots of vegatables and fruits that we are able to readily purchase from our grocery store.