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Parkinson’s Disease And Eating

Eating Tips For Those With Parkinsons

Can’t Eat – Matt, dyskinesia and Parkinson’s

Living with Parkinsons can present a number of challenges that often lead to an impact on everyday life. One of the main issues those with Parkinsons tend to face is eating, and being able to do so with ease. As with anybody, its important to make sure that a healthy, balanced diet is maintained. However, for those with Parkinsons, this is even more important as the individual needs to be in good health in order to lead a happy, comfortable life. If youre not sure where to start or need some advice for yourself or a loved on, these useful tips should assist you in eating and drinking with ease.

What Foods Make Parkinsons Worse

Luz Terry | Answered November 16, 2020

Below is a list of some foods you should avoid eating or limit the amount you eat for Parkinsons:

  • Foods high in saturated fats.
  • Processed foods.
  • Iron may reduce the amount of PD medication being absorbed.
  • High citrus juices like orange juice.
  • Sugary foods and drinks.

How Do I Know If I Have A Speech Or Voice Problem

  • My voice makes it difficult for people to hear me.
  • People have difficulty understanding me in a noisy room.
  • My voice issues limit my personal and social life.
  • I feel left out of conversations because of my voice.
  • My voice problem causes me to lose income.
  • I have to strain to produce voice.
  • My voice clarity is unpredictable.
  • My voice problem upsets me.
  • My voice makes me feel handicapped.
  • People ask, Whats wrong with your voice?

Also Check: What Is Parkinson Disease In Layman Terms

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Swallowing Difficulties And Parkinsons Medication

If swallowing tablets or capsules becomes difficult, it may be tempting to crush tablets or open capsules, but this should never be done, as it can cause serious side effects and/or prevent the medication working properly. Always ask your pharmacist or doctor, or check the patient information leaflet before tampering with medicines in any way. Swallowing medications with jelly, yoghurt or apple sauce may help you swallow medication more comfortably.

Many Parkinsons medicines are prepared or designed to work in a particular way that will be harmed by crushing or opening capsules. For example, some medicines have:

  • Sugar or film coating: This is usually to make them taste better, but crushing may make them taste unpleasant.
  • Enteric coating: This coating is designed to keep the tablet whole in the stomach, in some cases to protect the stomach or to protect the medicine from stomach acid so that it is released after passing through the stomach, for example in the intestine. This type of tablet should never be crushed.
  • Modified or controlled release: These medications have been designed to release slowly and act over a longer period, so they can be taken less often. Crushing this type of tablet would lead to a rapid release of the medicine which could be harmful.

If you experience any problems you should talk to your doctor, so that he or she can prescribe medication in a form that is easier to take. Some medicines are available in liquid form.

What Type Of Exercise Is Best For Parkinsons


Mamie Webster |

Which types of exercise are best for Parkinsons?

  • Aerobic e.g. brisk walking, stationary cycling activities that get the heart pumping.
  • Strengthening e.g. using weights or resistance bands to improve muscle strength.
  • Balance e.g. tai chi, dance to help you be more steady on your feet.

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Complex Parkinsons Disease And Palliative Care

Complex Parkinsons disease is defined as the stage when treatment is unable to consistently control symptoms, or the person has developed uncontrollable jerky movements .

These problems can still be helped by adjustment or addition of some of the medications used to treat Parkinsons disease, under the supervision of a doctor with a specialist interest in Parkinsons disease.

As Parkinsons disease progresses, youll be invited to discuss the care you want with your healthcare team as you near the end of your life. This is known as palliative care.

When theres no cure for an illness, palliative care tries to alleviate symptoms, and is also aimed at making the end of a persons life as comfortable as possible.

This is done by attempting to relieve pain and other distressing symptoms, while providing psychological, social and spiritual support for you and your family.

Palliative care can be provided at home or in a hospice, residential home or hospital.

You may want to consider talking to your family and care team in advance about where youd like to be treated and what care you wish to receive.

More Information About Equipment

Yoorallas Independent Living Centre provides information about a large range of assistive and communication technologies to support children and adults with disability with their functional independence at home, work and in their communities.

Equipment can be viewed and trialed at the ILC showroom in Braybrook, Victoria. Therapists are available to provide information and advice. For more information you can phone the ILC on 1300 885 886 or visit their website at

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Food For Thought: Diet & Nutrition In Pd

In this 49-minute talk by Dr. Laurie Mischley focuses on quality nutrition for those with Parkinsons disease. Dr. Mischleys explains why and how she studies the nutritional requirements for those with neurodegenerative disorders. What foods and supplements you should eat to delay the onset of PD, improve PD symptoms, and slow the progression of PD are shared throughout. The impacts of daylight, loneliness, sleep, excessive weight, exercise , mindfulness and balance exercises on symptoms and disease progression are also outlined.

What About Pesticides On Produce

Eating with Parkinson’s

Certain pesticides and herbicides increase the risk of Parkinsons. For this reason, we highly recommend reading Ending Parkinsons Disease to learn about chemicals linked to Parkinsons and join PD Avengers to participate in global efforts to limit or ban these chemicals.

Though we know that some pesticides and herbicides can cause Parkinsons, its unclear whether these chemicals affect the progression of the disease once someone is diagnosed. Still, its always a good idea to wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating them. You may also want to consider the Environmental Working Groups Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce, which includes a list of fruits and vegetables that are lower in pesticides. There are also organic options available at grocery stores and farmers markets. You can also try growing your own produce! Gardening is a great activity for improving physical and mental health.

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Ketogenic Diet And Fasting As A Treatment

It is well-established that caloric restriction and/or intermittent fasting are anti-inflammatory processes and can ameliorate disease in a variety of experimental models, including PD . Intermittent fasting is a feeding regimen that cycles between periods of fasting , and periods of unrestricted eating. Caloric restriction can improve health, increase lifespan, and improve tolerance to metabolic stresses . Indeed, rodents on an intermittent fasting diet exhibit less neuronal dysfunction/degeneration, and fewer PD-like symptoms in models of PD compared to ad libitum-fed controls . Similarly, caloric restriction increases levels of neurotrophic factors such as BDNF and attenuates PD-like pathology and behavior in rodent and primate models of PD lifestyle interventions such as caloric restriction/fasting and ketogenic diets are currently used to treat epilepsy and other neurological diseases . These effects may be due to the fact that ketosis increase neurotrophic factors such as BDNF, increases levels of antioxidants, and reduces pro-inflammatory cytokine production .

In addition to ketone bodies, fasting and consumption of a ketogenic diet can also impact PD pathogenesis by influencing intestinal peptide production with downstream effects on NLRP3 inflammasome, insulin resistance, and BDNF production . Indeed, caloric restriction increases brain BDNF in a primate model of PD . Recent studies in MPTP mice shows that fasting increases BDNF in the brain .

Diet And Parkinsons Medications

You should always discuss with your doctor, or Parkinsons nurse if you have one, when to take your medications. Most medications can be taken at any time and do not need to be specially timed in relation to meals. You may find sipping a drink makes it easier to swallow your tablets but avoid milk, a protein, when taking levodopa.

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Timing Of Protein And Meals With Medications

The main Parkinsons medication that we use is called levodopa, and when its started, its typically a three-times-a-day medication, which can be challenging for people to remember and plan around, says Stahl.

Scheduling the medication can be especially problematic for some people with Parkinsons disease who are sensitive to the absorption of their medicine if its timed close to protein or iron intake , she says. Its more of a minority of patients who really notice decreased efficacy of the medication if they time it with a high protein intake, but some very much do.

For people who have more advanced Parkinsons disease and may be taking the medication three, four, five, or even six times a day, that can get pretty complicated, says Stahl.

Because for many people the timing of protein or meals doesnt cause any noticeable change in the effectiveness of medication, Stahl doesn’t give special instructions about eating when she starts someone on levodopa. Sometimes having food in the stomach can even help with side effects, including nausea, she says.

If it turns out that the person is sensitive, and they arent getting the same benefit from the medicine when taking it with food, particularly protein, then we begin to make changes around the timing of protein, says Stahl.

Another method that works for some people is to take their medicine 30 to 60 minutes before a meal, so that they give the medicine a head start to get absorbed, says Stahl.

Fad Diets To Avoid Or Be Skeptical Of:

Parkinsons Disease and Low Carb Diets

There are many fad diets out there that someone with Parkinsons should be skeptical of such as the Caveman diet, Carnivore diet, Whole30 diet and many more. While these new diets claim to be the best thing since sliced bread many of them are unsustainable and not healthy for you in the long run.

Something else to watch out for are diets specific for Parkinsons. Thats right, you are reading a Parkinsons diet blog warning you of the dangers of Parkinsons specific diets. We do this because there is a lot of small studies out their claiming a specific food or nutrient will help with your Parkinsons while the truth is there really isnt any strong evidence for any of it. Worse yet, some of these foods or nutrients when taken in excess quantities can do more harm than good. The only real evidence-based diets that are shown to be good for Parkinsons are general healthy diets that work for everyone regardless of Parkinsons. The Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest diets out there, which is why we recommend it to those with Parkinsons.

*In the past this blog has recommended specific healthy nutrients or foods for Parkinsons, we have since updated the blog to better reflect scientific consensus

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Loss Of Manual Dexterity

There can be a decrease in dexterity, and it can be more difficult to perform tasks with the hands, including eating, says Stahl. Dexterity is the ability to use the hands to grasp and manipulate objects and demonstrate small, precise movements.

Adaptive eating utensils may help people continue to feed themselves, she says. We do find that using larger utensils that have a bigger grip area can be helpful, so that they arent trying to manipulate small spoon handles.

Make Mealtimes More Enjoyable

Although the main causes for difficult mealtimes for those with Parkinsons are physical, there can also be some psychological barriers that individuals face. For some, the idea of cooking and preparing their own meals can be too daunting and therefore deters them from making the effort to eat. For others, the prospect of eating alone can feel like too much pressure, removing the comfort that they have if they are with others. Making eating a pleasurable experience can work to combat these issues. For example, eating somewhere that is bright and colourful with music playing in the background may work well and put the individual at ease. Garnishing and presenting your meal nicely can also help to make the prospect of eating a more appealing one its all about making the act of eating as easy and stress-free as possible.

If you feel that yourself of someone you love would benefit from our live-in care or home visiting services, contact us today in order to speak to a trained member of our team.

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The Latest In Nutrition And Parkinson’s Disease

Eating well can help you take control of your health. In fact, choosing to eat healthy foods can improve your Parkinsons disease symptoms. And some research suggests that sound nutritional choices could have disease-modifying effects, meaning that they could potentially slow PD progression. Changing your eating habits can be a challenge, but there are many small adjustments you can make to your diet that will add up to big benefits. Learning about them is the first step. The following article is based on the latest research and a Parkinsons Foundation Expert Briefings about nutrition, hosted by John E. Duda, M.D., from University of Pennsylvania Movement Disorder Centers, a Center of Excellence.

Foods Containing Saturated Fat And Cholesterol

Nutrition and Parkinson√Ęs Disease

Some studies suggest that dietary fat intake may increase the risk of Parkinsons.

Although having a higher intake of cholesterol can elevate a persons Parkinsons risk, having a higher intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids may reduce the risk.

Therefore, a person with Parkinsons may wish to reduce their intake of cholesterol to help control the symptoms of the condition. They may also wish to reduce the amount of saturated fat in their diet.

However, further studies are required to explore the link between dietary fat and Parkinsons.

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Who Can Give Me Advice On Diet And Eating Problems

Depending on the country you live in your doctor may be able to refer you to any of the following specialists to give advice on diet or eating problems.

  • A dietitian can provide advice on all aspects of nutrition and diet. They will advise on maintaining a healthy diet to suit your needs and symptoms, bearing in mind the medications you take
  • A speech and languagetherapist will be able to help you with swallowing problems and strategies to overcome these, as well as speech difficulties. They can also help eliminate any other possible causes of swallowing problems
  • An occupational therapist will be able to look at ideas and equipment to make food preparation and mealtimes easier .Simple changes to your kitchen and dining area can make all the difference, for example:
  • adding grab rails to help you move around safely
  • moving the position of equipment so that food preparation tools are grouped together so you dont need to move around as much
  • buying a blender, microwave or small chopper, for example, to ease preparation and reduce the amount of time spent manually preparing food.

Adaptive Equipment: Plates & Bowls

  • Plate guards can stop food from falling off the edge of your plate. The guard clips onto your plate and provides an upright ring around it. Shop now.
  • Alternatively, a high-lipped plate or bowl provides similar features. Shop now.
  • A non-slip mat can be placed under your plate to stop it from moving around the table while you eat. Shop now.
  • Weighted cups can help with stability against tremor, but they may increase fatigue. Shop now.
  • A cup with a lid and a straw or spout can be helpful if tremor is an issue. Shop now.
  • A cup with two handles can make grasping easier. A handle on each side makes picking up, holding, and drinking easier and less messy. Shop now.
  • A spill-proof cup is handy if spillages are a concern. The No-spill Kangaroo cup can resist tipping/spilling if bumped or knocked. Shop now.
  • A nosey cup features a special cut-out that makes it easier to drink without tipping your head back. Nosey cups are available with or without handles. Shop now.

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Exercises For Restoring Health Breathing

There are various suggested types of exercise which can help gradually shift the equilibrium point of CO2 intolerance back to healthy states. However, all of these emphasize nose breathing over mouth breathing , and diaphragmatic breathing over chest breathing. This represents an immediate roadblock for people with PD, for whom mouth breathing is likely to have become so ingrained that it feels like the nose is permanently stuffed up, and who have diaphragms which are so frozen that it cannot voluntarily be flexed. However, it is possible to open the nose in the majority cases through some simple exercises. Robert Litman in the above video demonstrates this, and below is another video of Patrick McKeown on the topic. See also my article on how I restored nose breathing with the help of a red light anti-allergy device. It is also possible to restore access to diaphragmatic breathing, as I covered in another article, which explains how I used Block Therapy to achieve this.

Once nasal and diaphragmatic breathing is made possible there are a few different types of breathing exercises one try for restoring CO2 tolerance to more normal levels. It is important to note that these exercises are not necessarily targeted at immediate regulation of the Nervous System, unlike breathing methods designed for in-the-moment relaxation or mobilization, but are aimed at long term retraining of breathing patterns in order to restore healthy oxygenation levels to the brain and muscles.


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