It’s a well-documented fact that smokers have half the risk of being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. But the detrimental health effects of smoking cannot possibly outweigh this one boon. And if nicotine is the ingredient giving all the benefits, what else can we do to reduce the risk of Parkinson’s?
You may be surprised to learn that tobacco is not the only plant that contains nicotine. It’s a common component of other foods in the same family such as tomatoes, eggplants and the winner by far (in terms of nicotine concentration) is humble capsicum.
Even though a cigarette contains dried tobacco and therefore much more nicotine than what we can consume through fresh fruits and vegetables (yes, capsicum is a fruit!). Luckily, it doesn’t take much nicotine to get the benefits.
Trials introducing nicotine alone via gum or patches don’t have the protective effects of smoking, but the Mediterranean diet that’s rich in tomatoes, potatoes and capsicum does. Clearly it’s more than just the nicotine that has the magic.
So while the science catches up to working out the exact way smoking helps prevent Parkinson’s, I’ll be adding a few more capsicums and tomatoes to my diet.
The information in this post came from Dr Michael Greger’s post, Bell Peppers to Help Ward Off Parkinson’s.
Dr Carmen Hunwardsen owns and operates Carmen’s Spinal Care, a busy North Brisbane chiropractic clinic in Everton Hills.