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The #1 Worst Drink Increasing Your Risk of Parkinson's Disease, New Study Finds

Steer clear of this drink.
FACT CHECKED BY Kristen Warfield

If you need to quench your thirst, then you might want to stick with a glass of water. You could also opt for clear tea or black coffee if you're looking for a beverage that can offer your body a range of health benefits.

On the other hand, you may want to stop drinking milk on a regular basis due to the fact that it can increase your risk of Parkinson's disease, according to new findings.

In an extensive review that was published in Nutritional Neuroscience, those behind the research took a look at 52 studies that were conducted between 2000 and now. The randomized clinical trials and observational case-control studies, as well as follow-up studies focused on the ways nutrition affected the chances of developing Parkinson's disease and how they might affect the progression of the disease.

That included how coffee, alcohol, vitamins, polyphenols, and dairy products, as well as the Mediterranean diet, either increased or decreased the risk.

The resulting data showed that while polyphenols, polyunsaturated fatty acids, coffee, and the Mediterranean diet all helped to either reduce the development or progression of Parkinson's disease, milk increased the risk.

"Developing Parkinson's disease can be a result of many factors, with some being completely out of our control. Our diet may play a role in our risk of developing Parkinson's disease, and some data does suggest a relationship between dairy consumption and Parkinson's disease risk. In other words, those who consume more dairy products appear to have an increased risk of developing this condition," Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LDN, a registered dietitian on the Eat This, Not That! medical expert board, tells us.

Do you need to stop drinking milk?

While this study did identify a link between milk and Parkinson's disease risk, Manaker explains that this observational research only found an association between the drink and the disease.

"Association doesn't mean causation, and until enough well-designed clinical trials are conducted that are focused on the topic, it is not recommended that people avoid dairy foods altogether," she says, adding that there are benefits of consuming milk and other dairy products. "Dairy foods provide protein, calcium, magnesium, and many other important nutrients. And the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend people consume 3 dairy servings every single day."

"Instead of cutting out nutrient-dense dairy to reduce their Parkinson's disease risk, people can focus on what they can add to their diet: coffee, flavonol-rich foods, and polyunsaturated fatty acids," Manaker recommends.

 4 Surprising Effects of Drinking Milk, Say Dietitians


Manaker suggests focusing on what you should add to your diet rather than what to remove if you want to lower your risk of Parkinson's disease.

"No one food will cause or protect a person from developing a disease, as people eat in dietary patterns and we don't consume one food or drink in a vacuum. As this data suggests, the Mediterranean dietary pattern appears to be a diet to follow that is linked to lower Parkinson's disease risk," she says. "Since the Mediterranean diet does include dairy foods, people who don't want to give up their dairy foods and drinks can enjoy them as a part of an overall plant-forward diet that follows the principles of the Mediterranean diet."

As always, moderation is key: "Consuming appropriate quantities of dairy products, like milk, is key, and focusing on overall dietary patterns appears to be a wise choice," Manaker says.

For more on how to support brain health, don't miss The #1 Best Nut To Keep Your Brain Sharp, Says Dietitian.

Editor's note: A previous version of this article featured an expert quote that has since been retracted.

Desirée O
Desirée O is a freelance writer who covers lifestyle, food, and nutrition news among other topics. Read more about Desirée
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