Nutrition has a significant impact on the progression of Parkinson’s disease

Tuesday, August 14, 2018 by

Your health is greatly affected by the food you eat – it’s been proven time and time again. A study presented at the Fourth World Parkinson Congress builds on this fact, as they reported that eating foods commonly found in a Mediterranean diet were associated with a slower progression of Parkinson’s disease.

Researchers at Bastyr University and Oregon State University investigated whether diet, exercise, and supplements were linked to the rate of Parkinson’s disease progression. For the study, they recruited 1,024 participants with a mean age of 60.7 and had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease for an average of 6.7 years.

In their study, they used the Patient-Reported Outcomes in Parkinson’s Disease (PRO-PD) scale to evaluate the severity of Parkinson’s disease. In order to quantify the participants’ dietary intake in the cross-sectional analysis, they used baseline food frequency questionnaires.

Results revealed that foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, olive oil, fish, wine, eggs, and fresh herbs were associated with a significant improvement on the severity of Parkinson’s disease. On the contrary, fried foods, beef, diet soda, canned fruits, and canned vegetables were associated with more severe instances of Parkinson’s disease. Moreover, supplements such as oral glutathione, rasagiline, and coenzyme Q10 were associated with improved conditions, while iron was associated with exacerbated cases.

The researchers also found that exercising for a minimum of 30 minutes a day significantly reduced the severity of Parkinson’s.

Based on the findings, the researchers concluded that foods typically included in the Mediterranean diet help treat Parkinson’s disease, and regular exercise builds more on this improvement. (Related: 11 Delicious Key Ingredients that Make The Mediterranean Diet So Nutritious.)

Eat a Mediterranean diet for a healthier life

Here are just some benefits that you can get from the Mediterranean diet:

  • Preserve brain function – Because the Mediterranean diet is rich in healthy fats for the brain, it can be good for boosting brain power and preventing dementia and cognitive decline.
  • Lower your risk of heart disk – Mediterranean diet has been known to improve high blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels. Research shows that adherence to a Mediterranean diet can significantly reduce one’s risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as coronary heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
  • Make bones stronger – A study indicated that some compounds in olive oil, which is part of a Mediterranean diet, may help preserve bone density by enhancing the proliferation and maturation of bone cells. In another study, it was revealed that dietary patterns associated with the Mediterranean diet may help fight against osteoporosis.
  • Manage diabetes and regulate blood sugar – Following a Mediterranean diet can help prevent type 2 diabetes, and for those who already have diabetes, it can help regulate blood sugar and reduce cardiovascular risk. In comparison to a low-fat diet, people with Type 2 diabetes who adhered to a Mediterranean diet felt better, experienced greater weight loss, and had better blood sugar control. Fewer people also needed treatment.
  • Protect against depression – Research revealed that people who followed a Mediterranean diet most closely had approximately 98.6 percent lower risk of developing depression compared to those who followed it the least closely.
  • Prevent cancer – Higher adherence to a Mediterranean diet may help prevent cancer, according to studies.

Some tips on following a Mediterranean diet:

  • Saute food in olive oil instead of butter.
  • Increase fruit and vegetable intake by having them as snacks or including them in other recipes.
  • Replace refined bread and pasta with whole grains.
  • Have a fish meal in place of red meat for at least two times each week.

Read more news stories and studies on the benefits of a healthy diet by going to

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