Scientists have linked foods like peppers and tomatoes containing small amount of nicotine to lowered risk of Parkinson's disease, says a study. New research reveals that Solanaceae -- a flowering plant family with some species producing foods that are edible sources of nicotine -- may provide a protective effect against Parkinson's disease. The study appearing in Annals of Neurology, a journal of the American Neurological Association and Child Neurology Society, suggests that eating foods that contain even a small amount of nicotine, such as peppers and tomatoes, may reduce risk of developing Parkinson's.
Vegetable consumption in general did not affect Parkinson's disease risk, but as consumption of edible Solanaceae increased, Parkinson's risk decreased, with peppers displaying the strongest association, reports Science Daily. Researchers noted that the apparent protection from Parkinson's occurred mainly in men and women with little or no prior use of tobacco, which contains much more nicotine than the foods studied. "Our study is the first to investigate dietary nicotine and risk of developing Parkinson's disease," said Dr. Searles Nielsen. "Similar to the many studies that indicate tobacco use might reduce risk of Parkinson's, our findings also suggest a protective effect from nicotine, or perhaps a similar but less toxic chemical in peppers and tobacco," Nielsen added. The authors recommend further studies to confirm and extend their findings, which could lead to possible interventions that prevent Parkinson's disease.