3 Red Foods to Ramp Up Parkinson’s Disease Protection

Does trying to reach your health goals have you seeing red? I tell my clients to let go of perfection and instead embrace all the colors of tasty foods! These vibrant ingredients come packed with brain-boosting benefits. They help protect your brain and body and are important for Parkinson’s disease (PD). So, check out these must-try foods to incorporate in your diet!

Dragon fruit

This exotic fruit helps slay your health goals with its fiber-filled nutrition and antioxidant-rich capacity. Like pomegranate, dragon fruit is rich in polyphenols and other phytonutrients. These help to protect cells and reduce cognitive decline. Dragon fruit provides a rich source of:1,2

  • Betacyanin
  • Vitamin C
  • Lycopene

Dragon fruit offers antioxidant, antimicrobial, antidiabetic, and anticancer benefits. It is also an excellent source of fiber, containing 7 grams of fiber per cup.1,2

Like kiwis, dragon fruit may improve gut motility, creating a laxative effect. Diets high in fiber may help improve digestive or gastrointestinal health. This is important for PD, bowel regularity, immune function, and more.3

It’s common for people with Parkinson’s disease to experience increased constipation. In addition, commonly prescribed medications for Parkinson’s disease management may worsen bowel motility. This makes adequate fiber intake a must! So, check out these tasty ways to include more dragon fruit in your meals:4

Slice it up

That’s right, simply chop and enjoy! Create a tropical fruit salad by combining dragon fruit with pineapple, kiwi, mango, and more! It’s a tasty way to start the day with brain-boosting and symptom-managing nutrition.

Add to a smoothie

Toss dragon fruit into your blender to create an irresistible smoothie or bowl. It’s a grab-and-go breakfast that helps improve your gastrointestinal health while protecting against Parkinson’s disease. Talk about a convenient and tasty way to maximize fiber!

Pomegranate

This fruit is truly the pom! It’s abundant in polyphenols,  a type of antioxidant that fights inflammation and prevents cell death. These powerful antioxidants may protect your nervous system by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress linked to mitochondrial dysfunction. Mitochondria generate most of the chemical energy needed to power biochemical reactions in the body’s cell’s. These cells are important to protect with PD.5

In addition, research shows that polyphenols may help activate pathways that control the body’s response to oxidative stress. This helps to reduce the loss of neuronal cells in specific regions of the brain.5

More research is needed. But animal studies show that greater consumption of pomegranate extract resulted in improved neuroprotection against degenerative diseases. For an antioxidant-rich boost, check out these tasty ways to introduce more pomegranate into your daily routine:6

Use it as a topping

Pomegranate seeds may be small, but they sure are mighty! Reap their health benefits by using them as a topper for salads, yogurt, oatmeal, and more. My clients love them on top of roasted sweet potatoes with a bit of butter and their favorite chopped nuts. It adds texture, taste, and brain-boosting nutrition to every bite.

Drink up

Pomegranate juice carries a polyphenol-packed punch! Enjoy it on its own in a wine glass to make any dinner fancier, or add it to your favorite smoothie. When choosing a juice, be sure to opt for one made from pure pomegranate instead of those mixed with other fruits. But if the real deal is too tart, simply dilute it with water!

Drizzle it

Add a sweet flavor to a savory dish by transforming pomegranate into a tasty salad dressing. Combine pomegranate juice with lemon, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Voila! Talk about an easy-peasy way to get your pom on!

Cranberries

While commonly used during the holiday season, this nutrient-packed fruit promotes health benefits that merit a yearlong spotlight. Specifically, they are high in quercetin – a type of flavonoid that helps decrease inflammatory markers associated with neurodegeneration. Quercetin may also help protect against Parkinson’s disease by improving cell survival and dopaminergic neurons, as shown in animal studies.7

But the benefits don’t stop there! Cranberries may also decrease the risk of urinary tract infections and hypertension while improving immune health. In addition, their high-antioxidant capacity contributes to cancer prevention and reduced inflammation. So, when it comes to bettering your health, think, "yes we cran!" Check out these tasty ways to crank up your cranberry consumption:8

Bake them

Why not have your cake and eat it too? Improve your health with tasty bites by adding cranberries to muffins, cakes, crisps, tarts, and more. Giving your brain a boost has never tasted so sweet!

Stick to the classic

Why not make cranberry sauce a year-round affair? After all, it is a must-have pairing for a fan-favorite holiday! Channel your culinary creativity by adding it to other proteins such as chicken, duck, lean beef, and more!

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