Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health tested the effects of antioxidant intake on about 130,000 participants over a 20- to 22-year period and found that those who ate a lot of berries — which contain anthocyanins — lowered their risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
The benefits of antioxidants appeared to be stronger in men, however. In fact, results of the study showed that those who consumed the highest amount of flavonoids — a type of antioxidant that includes but is not limited to anthocyanins — were 40 percent less likely to develop the brain disorder than men who consumed the least amount of foods rich in this compound.
“This is the first study in humans to examine the association between flavonoids and risk of developing Parkinson’s disease,” said Dr. Xiang Gao, nutrition professor at Harvard University.
Authors of the study noted that chocolate, citrus fruits, tea, apples and red wine are also rich in flavonoids.
The National Parkinson Foundation has reported that 50,000 to 60,000 new cases of the disease are reported in the United States each year. Additionally, it is estimated that 4 to 6 million people suffer from the it worldwide.