The risk for developing Parkinson’s disease in men may be cut down if there are regular consumption of foods rich in flavonoids for instance apples, berries, tea, red wine and certain vegetables. No such significant relationship for total flavonoids is seen in women. Flavonoids are compounds found in fruits, vegetables, and certain beverages that have diverse beneficial biochemical and antioxidant effects. The antioxidant activity of flavonoids depends on their molecular structure, and structural characteristics of certain flavonoids found in hops and beer confer surprisingly potent antioxidant activity exceeding that of red wine, tea, or soy. Flavonoids are polyphenolic compounds that are ubiquitous in nature and are categorized, according to chemical structure, into flavonols, flavones, flavanones, isoflavones, catechins, anthocyanidins and chalcones. Over 4,000 flavonoids have been identified.
The flavonoids have aroused considerable interest recently because of their potential beneficial effects on human health-they have been reported to have antiviral, anti-allergic, antiplatelet, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and antioxidant activities. Antioxidants are compounds that protect cells against the damaging effects of reactive oxygen species, such as singlet oxygen, superoxide, peroxyl radicals, hydroxyl radicals and peroxynitrite. An imbalance between antioxidants and reactive oxygen species results in oxidative stress, leading to cellular damage. Oxidative stress has been linked to cancer, aging, atherosclerosis, ischemic injury, inflammation and neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s. Men who eat the most flavonoids are 40% less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than men who eat the least amount of flavonoids.
Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the brain that leads to shaking (tremors) and difficulty with walking, movement, and coordination. Parkinson’s disease most often develops after age 50. Sometimes Parkinson’s disease occurs in younger adults. The disease affects around one in 500 people, which equates to 127,000 people in the UK. Nerve cells use a brain chemical called dopamine to help control muscle movement. Parkinson’s disease occurs when the nerve cells in the brain that make dopamine are slowly destroyed. Without dopamine, the nerve cells in that part of the brain cannot properly send messages. This leads to the loss of muscle function. Exactly why these brain cells waste away is unknown. Among flavnoids, the main protective effect appears to come from a subclass of flavonoids known as anthocyanins, which are present in berries such as blackcurrants and blackberries, and other fruits, and also certain vegetables, such as aubergines. Although this all looks interesting, but there are still a lot of questions to answer. A lot more research needs to be done if it is to be known that how important diet might be for people with Parkinson’s.