Science

Pepper (And Tomato) A Day Can Keep Parkinson's Disease At Bay

By Enozia Vakil , May 10, 2013 12:11 AM EDT
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Nicotine-rich produce like peppers and tomatoes may help beat Parkinson's disease, study suggests.

Recent studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of smoking and the use of tobacco in lowering the risk of Parkinson's disease. However, this study aroused mixed reactions, for obvious reasons. Instead, the use of natural, healthy sources of nicotine, found in peppers, tomatoes and other members of the Solonaceae plant family, may now help reduce the risk of an individual suffering from Parkinson's disease, a new study shows.

According to the National Parkinson Foundation, around 50,000 to 60,000 patients are diagnosed with Parkinson's disease every year. This neurodegenerative disorder occurs due to a loss of brain cells that produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is held responsible for proper movement of the body, and leads to a group of motor system problems, thereby affecting the life of an individual drastically. Shaking, improper balance, rigid limbs and very slow body movements are observed in those suffering from this condition.

Four-hundred-ninety patients diagnosed with Parkinson's at the University of Washington or at a regional HMO called Group Health Cooperative, and 466 people with no history of neurodegenerative disorders were taken in as the control group for this study.

Though eating more vegetables in general did not demonstrate any significant change in lowering the risk of Parkinson's disease, those who consumed more produce from the Solonaceae family had around 19 percent lower risk of developing Parkinson's disease than those who didn't.

Though this study may not be statistically perfect, considering that a certain number of people from the control group were already at a lower risk of developing this condition, increased consumption of these vegetables and produce may have good benefits, especially for those who have little or no nicotine use.

The strongest risk-lowering quality was observed in the peppers, and those consuming 2-4 peppers every week showed a 30 percent lowered risk of developing Parkinson's disease.

This study may prove to be one of the best evidences of how diet can largely affect an individual's health, and how incorporating just a few dietary changes can cut down the risk of certain serious illness.

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