Parkinson’s illness is a motion dysfunction hanging 1 p.c of our older inhabitants and is the 14th main reason behind demise in america. Whereas we don’t actually know what causes it, we do know that individuals with a smoking historical past solely seem to have about half the danger. After all, “[s]moking is vastly damaging to well being; any profit derived from a discount in threat of Parkinson’s illness is outweighed by the elevated dangers of most cancers and heart problems,” in addition to lung illness, however this shouldn’t cease us from “evaluating tobacco parts for attainable neuroprotective results.”

Nicotine could match the invoice. If nicotine is the agent chargeable for the neuroprotective results, is there any strategy to get the profit with out the dangers? That’s the subject of my video Peppers and Parkinson’s: The Advantages of Smoking With out the Dangers?.

In spite of everything, the place does nicotine come from? The tobacco plant. Every other crops have nicotine? Effectively, tobacco is a nightshade plant, so it’s in the identical household as tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, and peppers. And guess what? All of them comprise nicotine as properly.

That’s why you’ll be able to’t inform if somebody’s a smoker simply by in search of the presence of nicotine of their toenail clippings, as a result of non-smokers develop out some nicotine into their nails, as properly. Nicotine is in our day by day weight-reduction plan—however how a lot? The quantity we common in our weight-reduction plan is a whole lot of instances lower than we get from a single cigarette. So, although we’ve identified for greater than 15 years that there’s nicotine in ketchup, it was dismissed as insignificant. We then discovered that even only one or two puffs of a cigarette may saturate half of our mind’s nicotine receptors, so it doesn’t take a lot. Then, we found that simply publicity to second-hand smoke could decrease the danger of Parkinson’s, and there’s not a lot nicotine in that. In truth, one would solely be uncovered to about three micrograms of nicotine working in a smoky restaurant, however that’s on the identical order as what one would possibly get consuming the meals at a non-smoking restaurant. So, the contribution of dietary nicotine consumption from merely consuming some wholesome greens could also be important.

nightshade consumption, generally, researchers could have discovered a decrease threat in comparison with different greens, however totally different nightshades have totally different quantities of nicotine. They discovered none in eggplant, solely somewhat in potatoes, some in tomatoes, however probably the most in bell peppers. When that was taken under consideration, a a lot stronger image emerged. The researchers discovered that extra peppers meant extra safety. And, as we’d count on, the results of consuming nicotine-containing meals had been primarily evident in nonsmokers, because the nicotine from smoke would presumably blot out any dietary impact.

This might clarify why protecting associations have been discovered for Parkinson’s and the consumption of tomatoes, potatoes, and a tomato- and pepper-rich Mediterranean weight-reduction plan. Would possibly nightshade greens additionally assist with treating Parkinson’s? Effectively, outcomes from trials of nicotine gum and patches have been patchy. Maybe nicotine solely helps stop it within the first place, or may or not it’s that it isn’t the nicotine in any respect, however, as an alternative, is another phytochemical in tobacco and the pepper household?

Researchers conclude that their findings might be must be reproduced to assist set up trigger and impact earlier than contemplating dietary interventions to stop Parkinson’s illness, however when the dietary intervention is to eat extra scrumptious, wholesome dishes like stuffed peppers with tomato sauce, I don’t see the rationale now we have to attend.


Advantages of smoking? See the tobacco business gloat in my video Is One thing in Tobacco Protecting Towards Parkinson’s Illness?.

Bell peppers may very well be healthiest uncooked, as I talk about in Greatest Cooking Methodology.

What about tomato merchandise? Select complete, crushed, or diced tomatoes as an alternative of tomato sauce, purée, or paste. Why? See Inhibiting Platelet Activation with Tomato Seeds for the reply.

You could be curious about my in-depth video sequence on the Mediterranean Weight-reduction plan:

In well being,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: When you haven’t but, you’ll be able to subscribe to my free movies right here and watch my reside, year-in-review displays:



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