Mediterranean diets linked to delayed onset of Parkinson’s

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The study found a strong correlation between following the MIND and Mediterranean diets and the later onset of Parkinson’s disease. While both diets have previously been associated with a neuroprotective effect for Alzheimer’s and dementia, this study is the first to look at the MIND diet in a cohort of people with Parkinson’s Disease.

“It’s exciting to see that these diets are proving beneficial across multiple neurodegenerative diseases, as it suggests that these diseases may share common mechanisms that we may be able to influence through healthy eating,”​ lead researcher Avril Metcalfe-Roach told NutraIngredients.

Analysing dietary data from 167 participants with Parkinson’s, the researchers found that close adherence to the MIND diet coincided with later onset of the disease – up to 17.4 years for women. In men, the Mediterranean diet was shown to have the most significant impact, delaying the onset of Parkinson’s by up to 8.4 years.

The Mediterranean‐DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet was published in 2015 in an attempt to refine the Mediterranean diet to minimise cognitive decline. The differences between the two diets are subtle: the MIND diet rewards leafy green, berry, and poultry intake while minimising the consumption of fried food and sweets. Milk, potato, and fruit intake are also discarded.

The mystery of the differences between the sexes

The different impact that adherence to these diets appeared to have on men and women is noteworthy as approximately two-thirds of Parkinson’s patients are men. The reasons why more men suffer from Parkinson’s are not yet understood, but the researchers said these latest findings “may be an important piece of the puzzle”​.

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