MIND and Mediterranean diets linked to later onset of Parkinson’s disease

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The Mediterranean diet and the MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diet have been associated with various health benefits.

A recent study conducted at the University of British Columbia has discovered a strong link between adhering to these diets and the delayed onset of Parkinson’s disease (PD).

While previous research highlighted the neuroprotective effects of these diets for Alzheimer’s and dementia, this study is the first to suggest their potential in promoting brain health for Parkinson’s disease.

The Mediterranean diet is inspired by the eating habits of people living in regions near the Mediterranean Sea. It emphasizes plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and olive oil.

The MIND diet combines aspects of the Mediterranean diet with the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, which focuses on controlling blood pressure by limiting sodium, sweets, and red meat while increasing potassium, magnesium, protein, fiber, and other beneficial nutrients.

The study involved 176 participants, and their adherence to the MIND and Mediterranean diets was evaluated.

The diets are characterized by reduced meat intake and a focus on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats. The researchers analyzed the relationship between diet adherence and the age of Parkinson’s disease onset.

The findings revealed that closely adhering to these diets was associated with a later onset of Parkinson’s disease.

In women, following the diets were linked to a delay in PD onset of up to 17.4 years, while in men, the delay was up to 8.4 years.

Notably, the MIND diet had a stronger impact on women’s health, while the Mediterranean diet showed a greater effect on men.

The study’s results suggest that individuals with Parkinson’s disease may experience a significantly delayed onset if their eating patterns closely align with the Mediterranean or MIND diet.

This evidence underscores the potential of nutrition to delay the onset of the disease, especially considering the limited availability of medications for the prevention or delay of Parkinson’s disease.

The study opens up avenues for additional research, particularly in exploring the connection between the gut microbiome and its influence on brain health.

The research team plans to investigate the potential relationship between the microbiome and Parkinson’s disease, aiming to deepen our understanding of this complex neurological condition.

The study conducted by Dr. Silke Appel-Cresswell and colleagues at the University of British Columbia highlights the association between adherence to the MIND and Mediterranean diets and later onset of Parkinson’s disease.

The findings support the potential of these dietary patterns in promoting brain health and delaying the development of Parkinson’s disease.

Future research on the microbiome-brain connection holds promise for advancing our knowledge of Parkinson’s disease.

Further studies are needed to confirm these findings and explore the mechanisms underlying the observed benefits.

The study was published in the journal Movement Disorders.

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