A new study from the University of British Columbia suggests a strong correlation between following the MIND and Mediterranean diets and later onset of Parkinson's disease.
While researchers have long known of 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 (PD).
The MIND diet combines aspects of two well-studied diet, the Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.
The new study found that individuals with Parkinson's disease have a significantly later age of onset if their eating pattern closely aligns with the Mediterranean-type diet – up to 17 years later in women and eight years later in men.
About the study
In a study of 176 participants, researchers 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 later onset of PD in women of up to 17.4 years, and 8.4 years in men.
The MIND diet showed a more significant 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 per cent of those diagnosed with Parkinson's disease are men.
These findings shows that healthy eating doesn’t just influence one disease, but it can affect several cognitive diseases.
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