Eating broccoli, red capsicum and other foods high in vitamin C and E can slash Parkinson's risk by a third.

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Eating broccoli, red capsicums and other foods high in vitamin C and E can slash Parkinson’s risk by a third, a new study shows. The Swedish study, published in January 2021, tracked 41,000 adults for an average of 18 years to monitor their vitamin consumption, BMI and activity levels.

The researchers from the University of Milano-Bicocca found that:

  • People who consumed more vitamin C and E had a lower risk of Parkinson’s.
  • This is due to the fact these vitamins contain high levels of antioxidants.
  • These antioxidants are said to boost dopamine production which can improve movement and balance, and in turn reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s.

None of the participants had Parkinson’s at the start of the study, but by the end, 465 people had been diagnosed with the disease.

Those in the highest third of vitamin intake were 32% less prone to the disease, according to the researchers.

With Parkinson’s, the brain doesn’t produce enough dopamine – the hormone that control movements – leading to problems with speech, walking and balance.

It is believed antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, may help counteract unstable molecules and the resulting oxidative stress that can lead to dopamine loss.

Vitamin C is found in a wide variety of fruit and vegetables including broccoli, capsicums and kūmara. Broccoli is also abundant in vitamin E – along with olive oil, nuts, seeds, spinach and cereals – and combined they have an even greater affect on reducing Parkinson’s risk.

“Our large study found vitamin C and vitamin E were each linked to a 32% lower risk of Parkinson’s disease” said lead author, Dr Essi Hantikainen.

Improving diet is a known way to improve overall health – but research on exactly how this affects Parkinson’s risk has been mixed. He went on: “The possibility of being able to reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease simply with the foods we eat is encouraging news. More research is needed to investigate the exact amounts of vitamins C and E that may be most beneficial for reducing the risk of Parkinson’s.”

The research findings were published in the journal, Neurology. 6 January 2021