Study: Berries, apples and tea are good for the brain

April 6, 2012, 12:57 p.m.

Berries are high in flavonoids, and high flavonoid intake makes men 40 percent less likely to get Parkinson's disease, according to a new study. (Credit: Allie/Flickr Creative Commons)

Berries – they're not just for preventing diabetes anymore.

Turns out men's intake of berries, apples, eggplants and tea – as well as any other food rich in flavonoids – can help to protect against Parkinson's disease.

Researchers announced the findings after a 20-year period of following nearly 130,000 women and men and analyzing their diets. Of the entire group, 805 developed Parkinson's, a neurological disease that usually develops after a person turns 50 characterized by shaking and difficulty walking and moving. 

Diet analysis revealed that men who ate more flavonoids were 40 percent less likely to develop the disease than men who didn't eat a lot of the chemical compound.

No such link was found in the women who were evaluated.

Flavonoids are found in plants and can also help prevent plant disease. Additional flavonoid-rich foods include all citrus fruits, gingko balboa, onion, parsley, red wine and dark chocolate. Additionally, anthocyanins are a type of flavonoid that scientists believe can play a role in preventing diabetes.

The study, which was published in the journal Neurology, added the disclaimer that the potential "protective" effects of other plant-food compounds can't be excluded from consideration.

The findings add to a growing list of benefits that eating produce can bring – which leaves South Los Angeles in a difficult position. The area has little access to fresh produce; more than 70 percent of the area's eateries are fast-food joints.

One potential avenue for community members to obtain fresh produce is the Central Avenue Farmers Market that takes place every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Central Avenue Constituent Services Center. And one of the most popular items at Primera Taza Coffee House on Central Avenue? Tea.

Photo by Allie via Flickr Creative Commons.

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