Diet for Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder which affects around 120,000 people in the UK.  Progressive (or degenerative) means that it typically worsens over time and neurological means that it affects the nervous system (this system includes the brain, spinal cord, and nerves throughout the body).

The main symptoms of Parkinson’s are slowness of movement, rigidity tremor and postural instability (balance problems). Parkinson’s is closely connected to a lack of dopamine cells in your body, researchers are looking for ways to increase dopamine naturally through your diet. The secondary symptoms of Parkinson’s such as dementia and confusion might also be improved through lifestyle changes like diet and exercise.

Food high in antioxidants are sometime suggested to cut down on oxidative stress in your brain. While there is no special diet required for people with Parkinson’s disease eating a well-balanced nutritious diet is extremely beneficial. With the proper diet, our bodies work more efficiently, we have more energy and Parkinson’s disease medications will work properly.

The following are list of foods for people with Parkinson’s disease;

1. Water: Be sure to get your fluids to prevent dehydration, lower blood pressure and improve constipation and all its potential problems.

2. Salmon: sardines and Tuna packs a big punch for protein plus high in heart healthy omega 3s. Eating sardines with the bones adds calcium. Be careful how much tuna you eat in one week due to accumulation of mercury.

3. Prunes: These are not just good only for grandma, they are high in antioxidants, fiber, vitamin A and potassium plus effectively treats constipation.

4. Berries: Pomegranates, Cranberries, blueberries, all high in antioxidants.

5. Broccoli: Eat broccoli, it is a good source of antioxidants and a high source of fiber, vitamin C, calcium, iron and magnesium for a vegetable.

6. Green Tea: Great source of antioxidants for those wanting low (no) calorie options.

7. Ginger: Ginger has been used for centuries to treat nausea and research is proving its value for treatment of nausea during chemotherapy or with motion sickness. Ginger can help the nausea caused by dopaminergic medicines to treat Parkinson’s.

Using ginger root or candied ginger is one way to ensure you are getting the real product as the purity of supplements is not regulated.


Enriched Flour

The process used to produce enriched flour strips the original gram of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Increased fiber intake may help alleviate constipation, which often accompanies Parkinson‘s disease according to the university of Maryland medical center.

Excessive Protein-Rich Food

protein provides amino acids that promote tissue growth and repair and proper brain function. Although protein plays an important role in most diets, eating more than modest amount interfere with the Parkinson’s disease medication levodopa in some people, according to dietitian affiliated with the Parkinson’s disease foundation, Karol Travis.

Foods particularly high in protein include meat, fish and dairy products such as milk and cottage cheese. Because daily products and fish are valuable sources of calcium and vitamin D, which are important for preventing osteoporosis, incorporating modest amounts into your meals routinely may also help to prevent medication related problems.

Added Sugars

Added sugars contribute calories and sweet flavor but few nutrients. A sugar-rich diet leaves little room for beneficial foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and leads to weight gain when indulged in excess. Maintaining a healthy body weight and eating primarily healthy food are important for Parkinson’s  disease. Patients are to avoid excessive sugar intake and limit processed snack foods.

NOTE: We don’t know enough yet to recommend a very specific diet to  treat Parkinson’s disease but we do know that what makes a healthy lifestyle for a person with Parkinson’s and a person without Parkinson’s are not all that different. Some kinds of supplements and food can interfere with Parkinson’s prescription drugs so make sure you consult with your doctor before changing your treatment routine.

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