The Mediterranean diet focuses on fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. For protein, fish is a staple; dairy and poultry are relied upon less heavily and red meat is to be consumed a few times per month at most. The diet stresses intake of “healthy fats,” such as those in nuts and olive oil and so really draws on the best recommendations for healthy living.
Olive oil is high in the monounsaturated fatty acid oleic acid existing in its triglyceride form, which humans cannot produce and therefore obtain from diet. Oleic acid has also been shown to express anti-inflammatory activities. Reyes et al, found that in the presence of oleic acid, the gene expression of anti-inflammatory macrophages was increased. Macrophages are immune cells that are critical in modulating inflammation and can be polarised to promote or inhibit it, but also have an important role in the removal of excess fatty-acids.
Not only has the Mediterranean diet been successful in improving the symptoms of those with Parkinson’s including mood, fatigue, constipation, urinary, but adopting this diet which is rich in antioxidants and goods fats, provides neuro-protective qualities that can reduce the risk of getting Parkinson’s in later life. Research has also showed that each unit increase in Mediterranean diet score was associated with a 2% decreased probability for prodromal Parkinson’s Disease (early stage of Parkinson’s where the initiation of neuroprotective treatment may alter the disease discourse, improving the of life for patients).