Peppers and Parkinson’s: The Benefits of Smoking Without the Risks?
Eating Peppers Might Help Prevent Parkinson’s
Here, seven ways to add the disease-fighting veggie to your diet
What if keeping your nervous system healthy—and functioning properly—was as easy as tweaking your lunch? A new study suggests that this might be the case:Eating more peppers may lower your risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, according to a new study published in the journalAnnals of Neurology.
Parkinson’s disease, which affects as many as one million people in the U.S., is a movement disorder that is often hard to diagnose and gets worse over time. The actual cause is unknown, but Parkinson’s develops when neurons in your brain that are responsible for producing dopamine, a hormone that helps regulate movement in your body, malfunction and die. Symptoms include tremors, slowed movement, stiffness, and instability. Pretty scary stuff—especially since there’s no known cure.
Researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle asked 490 newly-diagnosed participants and 644 participants without the disease (who were used as controls) to share their dietary habits and tobacco use. The more participants filled up on foods from theSolanaceaeplant family—which includes peppers, tomatoes, tomato juice, and potatoes—the lower their risk for Parkinson’s. Peppers in particular seemed to be the most effective: Eating them two to four times or more per week was associated with about a 30 percent reduced risk of developing the disease.
So why the focus on this particular plant? Past research suggests that the nicotine in cigarettes—which is derived from the same plant family that produces peppers—can help reduce your risk of Parkinson’s. The obvious problem with that is the host ofotherhealth issues that cigarette smoking can cause. Luckily, edible nicotine seems to thwart the disease—without compromising your health in other ways. It’s also worth noting that, in this study, the reduced risk associated with eating these foods occurred mostly in men and women who reported never having smoked tobacco or only did so for a short period of time.
For a delicious way to pump up your pepper intake, whip up these recipes.
Video: Vlog #27 Eating To Reverse Parkinson's Update
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