MIND and Mediterranean diets could help delay Parkinson’s disease

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The Mediterranean diet is a diet inspired by the eating habits of people who live near the Mediterranean Sea.

The diet contains many plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables, potatoes, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and extra virgin olive oil.

The MIND diet combines aspects of two very popular diets, the Mediterranean diet, and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.

The DASH diet limits sodium intake, sweets (in drinks and foods), and red meat.

It limits saturated and trans-saturated fat while increasing the intake of potassium, magnesium, protein, fiber, and nutrients thought to help control blood pressure.

In a study from the University of British Columbia, scientists found a strong link between following the MIND and Mediterranean diets and the later onset of Parkinson’s disease.

While researchers have long known the neuroprotective effects of the MIND diet for diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia, this study is the first to suggest a link between this diet and brain health for Parkinson’s disease.

In the study, the team tested 176 participants. They looked at adherence to these types of diets, characterized by reduced meat intake and a focus on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats, and the age of PD onset.

They found that close adherence to these diets coincided with the later start of PD in women of up to 17.4 years, and 8.4 years in men.

The MIND diet showed a stronger impact on women’s health, whereas the Mediterranean diet did for men.

The differences in these two diets are subtle but could serve as clues to the impacts specific foods and micronutrients may have on brain health.

The different effects of diet adherence between sexes are noteworthy as approximately 60 percent of those diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease are men.

The study shows individuals with Parkinson’s disease have a significantly later age of onset if their eating pattern closely aligns with the Mediterranean-type diet.

The difference shown in the study was up to 17 years later in women and eight years later in men.

The team says there is a lack of medications to prevent or delay Parkinson’s disease yet we are optimistic that this new evidence suggests nutrition could potentially delay the onset of the disease.

These findings springboard other research questions that could have significant impacts on the understanding of PD.

The research team plans to further examine the potential connection between the microbiome and its effect on the brain.

If you care about Parkinson’s disease, please read studies about a better way to treat Parkinson’s disease, and flavonoid-rich foods could improve survival in Parkinson’s disease.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies that Parkinson’s disease is on your skin, and results showing Vitamin E may help prevent Parkinson’s disease.

The study was conducted by Dr. Silke Appel-Cresswell et al and published in Movement Disorders.

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