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What Foods Should You Avoid If You Have Parkinson’s Disease

Managing Medication Side Effects

What To Eat When You Have Parkinson’s Disease
  • Drink lots of water to avoid dehydration-induced headaches and muscle tension.
  • Drink green tea, bone broth, or ginger tea to boost your immune system.

Dont:

  • Drink alcohol or coffee or any other caffeinated beverages to avoid having sleep issues.

Knowing what to eat and what to avoid can help you manage the symptoms of Parkinsons disease. Follow these tips to relieve symptoms and have a better quality of life.

Consult your doctor to know what other foods you can consume to help you manage Parkinsons.

Engage with the community by asking a question, telling your story, or participating in a forum.

Reach Out To Comfort Home Care For In

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinsons and requires assistance with daily living, then at Comfort Home Care today. Our dedicated team works diligently to provide quality care to all patients, and we can tailor our service to meet your specific needs. This may include dietary changes that work for you, such as adding more antioxidants, grains, fruits, and vegetables to your diet, along with reducing the consumption of less healthy foods and drinks.

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A Nutritious Diet Is Essential For Healthy Living With Parkinsons

For people with Parkinsons, nutritious foods can help manage some of the common symptoms of the disease and support healthy brain functions. While more evidence on the effect of diet on the progression of Parkinsons disease is needed, educating yourself about the benefits of a healthy diet is still important for your overall health and symptom management. The information on this website is a good place to start learning about nutrition.

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What Are The Best Foods To Eat For Parkinsons Disease

If you had a healthy diet before being diagnosed with Parkinsons, theres a good chance you dont have to overhaul your eating habits very much. But there are a few additional considerations you should be aware of.

The Parkinsons Foundation recommends eating a diet thats full of grains like brown rice and breads vegetables fruits, including berries and sliced apples and lean protein like beans. Collectively, these foods provide vitamins, minerals, fiber, and complex carbohydrates to help you lower your intake of fat and maintain a healthy weight while giving your body the nutrients it needs.

The Mediterranean Diet has become popular in Parkinsons disease, and we recommend it to a lot of our patients, Subramanian says. We also recommend the Mind Diet, which is low in salt and is designed to improve brain function. Generally, its best to avoid processed foods and foods with artificial or simple sugars. Try to stay as much as you can in a whole-food and plant-based diet.

In addition, following the guidelines established by the US Department of Agriculture MyPlate program will enable you to have a balanced diet that provides your body with the energy, protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber it needs for good health. For example, eating meals rich in calcium, magnesium, and vitamins D and K can help strengthen bones, which is especially important given that Parkinsons disease can increase your risk of bone-thinning.

  • Salmon
  • Spinach
  • Certain nuts, like almonds

A Look At Parkinsons Disease

Parkinson

Parkinsons disease is a progressive movement disorder that presents with control and balance-related symptoms that gradually worsen over time. The disorder is caused by the general deterioration of neurons, or nerve cells, in the brain. The brain receives information from neurons, processes it, then sends instructions out that specify various functions. In the substantia nigra of the midbrain, neurons produce a neurotransmitter known as dopamine.

In those with Parkinsons disease, protein clumps known as Lewy bodies build up inside these dopamine-producing neurons which cause them to degenerate and die. Without a sufficient amount of dopamine, the brain is unable to operate properly. Individuals with PD may experience both primary symptoms and secondary symptoms. Primary symptoms are often movement-related, such as tremors, rigidity, and bradykinesia which cause your movements to become slower.

Secondary symptoms may develop as the condition progresses. You may notice a change in the way that you walk, a limited range of motion, and pain caused by a change in posture. Secondary symptoms may not be related to movement, such as loss of smell, sweating, depression, or trouble sleeping. As the condition becomes more problematic, some people with PD may experience psychiatric symptoms such as dementia, hallucinations, and nightmares.

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Do You Need Any Supplements

While it is ideal to get your vitamins and phytonutrients through food sources, it can be hard to get enough vitamin D in your diet. Studies are telling us that adequate vitamin D levels play a role in everything from Parkinson’s disease to cancer prevention.

Ordinarily, we get a lot of our vitamin D from the sun, but with the adoption of sunscreen use along with indoor activities, it’s been found that the majority of people have levels that are considered to be too low.

Many people need to take a vitamin D3 supplement in order to get enough, but this is easy to determine. A simple blood test can let you know if you are deficient or in the low end of the “good range.” Ask your doctor to check your level. It’s thought that less exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun, resulting in less vitamin D absorption, is linked with an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease, at least in young people.

Getting The Right Balance

A balanced daily diet will contain a wide variety of foods from the five food groups listed below. Ideally you should eat food from at least three different groups at each meal, making sure that you cover all groups throughout the day. This may not be possible if you take certain medications so always follow any instructions you are given regarding medication and diet.

General dietary recommendations currently include:

  • maintaining energy intake at 25-30 kilocalories per kilogram of body weight, with additional calories if you experience dyskinesia
  • a carbohydrate to protein proportion of at least 4-5:1
  • a recommended daily protein allowance of 0.8g/kg of body weight.

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Parkinsons And Weight Gain

Parkinsons medication does not tend to make people gain weight, but a small number of people may experience impulsive and compulsive behaviour. This is a side effect of some Parkinsons medication, particularly dopamine agonists and, in some cases, levodopa.

Impulsive behaviour is when a person cant resist the temptation to carry out certain activities. These are often activities that give an immediate reward or pleasure, such as gambling, hypersexuality and overeating.

So, someone may eat large amounts of food in a short period of time because they cant control their appetite, and as a result, they gain weight.

If you think youre experiencing this behaviour, speak to your GP, specialist or Parkinsons nurse.

We dont advise anyone to stop taking or to change their Parkinsons medication without the advice of their specialist or Parkinsons nurse.

Any changes have to be made slowly and gradually, and should always be carried out and reviewed by a specialist, because of the risk of side effects and withdrawal symptoms.

Someone experiencing impulsive or compulsive behaviour may not realise they have a problem. So it’s important that their carer is aware of these side effects.

Deep brain stimulation and weight gain

Some people with Parkinsons may put on weight quickly after having deep brain stimulation, a surgery sometimes used to treat the condition.

If you think youre experiencing this behaviour, speak to your GP, specialist or Parkinsons nurse.

Dietitians Speech Pathologists And Mental Health Experts Can Help Too

What’s best to eat if you have Parkinson’s Disease

Talking to a registered dietitian can help you make changes to your diet for example, by learning how to use thickening liquids or soften solid foods.

If swallowing continues to be a problem, a speech-language pathologist may be able to help you find ways to make swallowing easier.

A speech pathologist who is also a swallow therapist can do a swallow study, a test during which you try different foods and they monitor how you swallow using an X-ray machine, Subramanian explains. Food aspiration, or when food gets into your lungs, can be a problem with Parkinsons disease, so the swallow study can identify problem foods and your doctors can recommend changes and diet modifications to make eating safer.

Finally, as anxiety or depression are common in people with Parkinsons and can suppress appetite, its important to recognize symptoms associated with these behavioral health conditions and seek out treatment if needed.

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What To Eat With Parkinsons Disease

  • Berries: Blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, and pomegranates are all high in powerful antioxidants.
  • Salmon, tuna, and sardines: These sources of fish are high in protein and heart-healthy omega-3s.
  • Green tea: A low-calorie beverage option high in antioxidants and phytochemicals.
  • Prunes: Prunes are high in fiber, antioxidants, potassium, and vitamin A, and can be a great prevention tool for constipation sufferers.
  • Ginger: Ginger root or candied ginger are useful for treating nausea which may be caused by PD itself or the medications used to treat it.
  • Chocolate: Chocolate can be a great treat for individuals with PD as it is rich in flavonoids and other antioxidants that help reduce stroke and cardiovascular disease.

Which Nutrients Are Beneficial For Parkinsons

Many of the nutrients found in the staple foods of a Mediterranean diet are beneficial for Parkinsons. One type of nutrient in particular, called antioxidants, helps to reduce damage to cells in the body that are caused by free radicals. There is some evidence that suggests antioxidants can reduce the risk of Parkinsons and support a healthy brain and healthy brain functions. Plus antioxidants are important for overall health and preventing other chronic illnesses. For these reasons, a diet high in foods containing antioxidants is essential for people with Parkinsons.

Antioxidants can be found in a variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices and teas. Antioxidants include vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene and flavonoids . Good sources of these antioxidants include:

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Foods Containing Saturated Fat And Cholesterol

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.

Optimise Your Diet Reduce Your Toxic Load

Diet and Parkinson

While the cause of Parkinsons is not known, environmental toxins such as pesticides and herbicides are implicated. Researchers have found levels of these chemicals to be higher in the brains of Parkinsons sufferers and incidence of Parkinsons is higher in areas with greater use of these chemicals. It makes sense to avoid any environmental toxins that you can. Also, consider your intake of dietary toxins such as alcohol and caffeine avoiding or reducing these may reduce the load on your bodys detoxification pathways.

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Eating To Ease Symptoms

For some Parkinson’s symptoms, the first step in treatment is to adjust your diet.

  • Constipation: Drinking more fluids and eating more fiber can help maintain regularity. Aim to drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. Warm liquids, especially in the morning, can stimulate bowel movements. Dietary sources of fiber consist of fruits , vegetables, legumes, whole grain breads and cereals. Most of these are high in antioxidants, as well.

Talk to your doctor or a dietitian to craft a diet that helps you manage your Parkinson’s symptoms and feel energized and healthy.

So What Does Nutrition Have To Do With Parkinsons

1. The neurotransmitter dopamine is made in the body from amino acids which are the building blocks of protein. Every time we eat a protein rich food we take in protein, which the body breaks down into its component amino acids. Two amino acids are converted in the body into L-Dopa, which is then converted into dopamine in the brain.

2. Nutrient co-factors are required for each stage of this conversion process, so deficiencies of these may reduce dopamine production.

3. L-dopa medication competes for absorption with dietary amino acids, therefore the timing of taking L-dopa and the eating of protein needs to be managed for optimal absorption and effectiveness of the drug and the reduction of side-effects.

Therefore, the nutritional therapy approach to Parkinsons includes:

1. Supporting dopamine production by ensuring adequate precursors and co-factors

2. Considering drug-nutrient interactions to enhance effectiveness and reduce side-effects

3. Optimising nutritional status and addressing co-morbidities . These co-morbidities include constipation, depression, fatigue, and insomnia.

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Weight Maintenance And Unplanned Weight Loss

Foods you should avoid if have chronic kidney disease

In addition to the measures above, try supplementing meals with extra fats such as cream, butter and oil, and additional snacks and drinks such as milkshakes. Dietitians can provide specific advice about this. In the long term, if swallowing difficulties make it too difficult to maintain adequate nutrition, tube feeding directly into the stomach may eventually be considered and can be carried out at home or in a care setting.

Parkinsons News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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Calcium And Vitamin D Intake

Osteoporosis is particularly important to avoid as falls are common in Parkinsons. It is now thought that there is a link between the severity of Parkinsons and bone density so you should ask your doctor to assess your calcium and Vitamin D to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Although Vitamin D is not found in food, the following foods may be fortified with Vitamin D:

  • Good food and beverage sources of calcium are low fat milk, fortified soy/rice beverages, fortified juice, low fat cheeses and yogurts.
  • Good food and beverage sources of vitamin D are low fat milk, fortified soy/rice beverages, fortified juice, fatty fish, and fortified yogurt.
  • There are many different kinds of calcium and vitamin D supplements. Ask your pharmacist for advice on the different kinds available. If you unable to move around, do not take calcium or vitamin D supplements without consulting your doctor.

Do as much weight-bearing exercise as you can, such as walking, dancing, or aerobics. Aim for 30 minutes or more of activity per day as often as you can. Talk to your doctor or physiotherapist on how to safely include activity into your lifestyle.

Other vitamins and minerals

Vitamins A, D, E and K tend to be found in milk and dairy food and are fat-soluble, which means that they remain in the body for some weeks before being used or expelled.

Antioxidants

Co-Enzyme Q10

Caffeine

What About Other Drinks

Parkinsons patients should avoid drinking sugar-sweetened beverages. These products can negatively affect disease symptoms. Especially, diet soda could be very toxic.

Moderate consumption of caffeine and alcohol shouldnt cause any harm but their high amount may possibly actuate adverse effects in patients. Few clinical trials have reported that daily consumption of coffee may improve some of Parkinsons symptoms. Therefore, researchers often encourage the use of moderate amounts of coffee in Parkinsons disease.

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I Am Overweight What Can I Do

It’s easy to gain weight if you become less active but are eating the same amount of food.

If you are trying to lose weight, here are some tips to start with:

  • Don’t eat fried food regularly grill, dry fry, microwave, bake, steam, poach or boil, without adding fat or oils. Instead, use marinades, adding extra herbs, stock and spices for flavour.
  • Use skimmed or semi-skimmed milk instead of full fat.
  • Try eating healthier snacks like diet yoghurts, nuts, fruit, crumpets or teacakes.
  • Have sugar-free, no added sugar or low-calorie drinks and use artificial sweetener instead of sugar.

If you have other health conditions as well as Parkinsons, such as circulation problems, high cholesterol, heart disease or diabetes, and are concerned about being overweight, speak to your GP, specialist, Parkinsons nurse or ask to see a registered dietitian.

Taking Care Of Business

Parkinson

The Parkinson’s Foundation has developed a thorough guide to getting your household and personal documents organized at www.parkinson.org

  • Organize your medical histories
  • Keep a journal of medications and dosages
  • Organize your personal financial documents
  • Insurance and long-term care plans
  • Livings wills, durable power of attorney, advanced medical directives

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Services To Help Those With Parkinsons

While there is no specific diet for Parkinsons disease, it is important to maintain good overall health by eating a variety of foods. Individuals with PD may have trouble following a healthy diet. An in-home care agency can help prepare and serve nutritious meals, assist with feeding, and help with cleanup after meals. If you are a loved one is suffering from Parkinsons disease and require services, contact an in-home care agency today.

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