The Right Diet for People With Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a condition that affects your nervous system and results in uncontrollable muscle movements called tremors. The standard treatment for Parkinson’s disease involves taking medication, which can have side effects. To assist in reducing the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, many patients turn to diet changes. 

Parkinson’s disease diet management plays a vital role in controlling tremors and improving overall health for individuals with Parkinson’s disease. This article will teach you about dietary intervention for Parkinson’s disease and tips on making healthy meals.

Dietary Intervention For Parkinson’s Disease

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Dietary intervention is a treatment approach that can improve one’s quality of life for individuals with Parkinson’s disease. The intervention aims to help control symptoms such as muscle stiffness and tremors by providing the right balance of nutrients in your diet. 

In addition, many people with Parkinson’s Disease are advised by their doctors or neurologists to avoid sugar because it causes high blood sugar levels. Moreover, this may increase their risk of developing dementia or cardiovascular disease later in life. 

However, many other foods can also be harmful when consumed excessively, particularly by Parkinson’s patients. Examples include high-calorie foods like chips or cookies, fatty meats, etc.

Diet’s Function

Eating the right diet is a great way to improve your overall health. It can help with blood sugar control, blood pressure, and many other important aspects of controlling Parkinson’s disease. The disease can cause changes in eating habits, and your food may affect how well your body handles certain medications or treatments. 

The best diet for Parkinson’s disease will depend on your symptoms and the medications used to treat them. That said, you should be aware of some special roles of dieting in controlling PD:

1. Dehydration: 

Medications that treat Parkinson’s disease can dry you out. Not only can dehydration leave you more tired over time, but it can also lead to confusion, balance issues, weakness, and kidney problems. Be sure to hydrate with plenty of water and fluids throughout the day.

2. Constipation:

This is a common symptom of Parkinson’s disease brought on by the digestive system’s slowing down. Constipation can be annoying at best and can negatively impact your large intestine at worst. 

High-fiber diets, including fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, veggies, legumes, and whole-grain bread and cereals, will help to avoid constipation. Exercise and consuming lots of fluids can also aid in preventing constipation.

3. Muscle cramps:

Hydration can help avoid or lessen cramps. This may be alleviated by consuming turmeric-containing foods like yellow mustard or beverages like tonic water. Others claim that pickle juice, vinegar, or salt works for them. 

Advice For Starting A Parkinson’s Diet

If you’re considering starting a diet, it’s important to consult with a licensed dietitian. A professional can help you determine which foods are appropriate for your condition and ensure that the diet plan is tailored to your needs. Your doctor may also recommend that you work with a speech pathologist if you’re having problems swallowing because of the condition.

In addition to consulting with doctors and nutritionists, discussing any questions or concerns with those around you is important. Don’t be afraid of talking openly with family members; they’ll want nothing more than for you to feel better! 

Parkinson’s Disease Diet: What To Eat

So what is the best diet for Parkinson’s disease? The consumption of the following foods may help to prevent Parkinson’s disease or to slow down the disease’s course.

  1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Fish Oil 

According to certain studies, fish oil may assist in reducing the progression of Parkinson’s. Omega-3 fatty acids may help:

Therefore, patients with Parkinson’s may benefit from eating more fatty fish rich in omega-3 or finding omega-3 supplements.

This can be found in fish oil, providing several additional health advantages. Additionally, it might help boost brain function and cardiovascular health and slow cognitive decline. Omega-3 fats also help lower the risk of developing dementia and confusion. The following types of fish and seafood have high concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids:

  • Mackerel 
  • Salmon 
  • Oysters 
  • Sardines 

2. Foodstuffs Rich In Antioxidants

In Parkinson’s disease, there’s an imbalance of antioxidants and unstable substances known as free radicals within the body. These result in oxidative stress, which can be countered by foods rich in antioxidants. Several excellent sources of antioxidants include:

  • Berries like blueberries, strawberries, grapes, cranberries, cherries
  • Nuts like walnuts and pecans
  • Turmeric
  • Parsley
  • Cacao products

3. Several Foods High In Nutrients

It has been discovered that malnutrition increases the likelihood of mental decline and in patients with Parkinson’s, malnutrition is even more common. The following are a few food sources of nutrients that many Parkinson’s patients may benefit from:

  • Iron from spinach, meat, tofu, and morning cereals with added iron
  • Vitamin B1 from pork, beans, lentils, and peas
  • Zinc from whole grains, red meat, oysters, and chicken

4. High-Fiber Foods

Consume enough fiber to relieve constipation, a common symptom of Parkinson’s disease. Excellent sources of fiber include whole grains, fresh fruits, and leafy greens.

5. Vitamin D And Calcium 

Since falls are frequent in Parkinson’s due to poor balance, it is especially crucial to prevent osteoporosis (brittle bones). Ask your doctor to check your calcium and vitamin D levels to lower the risk of osteoporosis. It is now believed that there is a connection between bone density and the severity of Parkinson’s disease. 

Low-fat milk, fortified soy/rice beverages, fortified juice, fatty salmon, and fortified yogurt are all excellent sources of vitamin D. On the other hand, leafy green vegetables, and fortified soy products contain a rich amount of calcium. Supplements for calcium and vitamin D come in a variety of forms. 

Consult your pharmacist for information on the correct option to take. Do not take calcium or vitamin D supplements without talking to your doctor.

6. Parkinson’s and Keto Diet

A high-fat, extremely low-carb diet is known as a ketogenic diet. It is a form of metabolic treatment, which implies that ketones largely replace glucose as the body’s primary energy source. Metabolic therapy aims to enhance neurons’ metabolism, development, and protection. 

According to studies, the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can be relieved by ketogenic diets. Interestingly, the non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease that the ketogenic diet significantly reduced included: 

  • urinary issues, 
  • discomfort, 
  • exhaustion, 
  • cognitive decline, and 
  • daytime sleepiness. 

As such, scientists have reason to believe that the ketogenic diet is safe and practical for people with this condition and significantly reduces both motor and non-motor symptoms.

7. Gluten-Free Diet 

The gluten-free diet forbids the consumption of gluten-containing foods, which is present in bread, pasta, and rice. Gluten-rich foods can result in gastrointestinal tract inflammation in those with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or a gluten allergy.

Additionally, it could cause vague symptoms like joint discomfort, headaches, and even changes in mood and memory. Parkinson’s patients who attempted this diet reported relief from some symptoms.

Foods To Avoid 

Numerous meals can exacerbate Parkinson’s disease symptoms or quicken the disease’s course. Parkinson’s disease and diet control can help people manage their symptoms better. Here are some of the foods to avoid:

Certain Dairy Containing Foods 

According to some research, consuming dairy products may increase your risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. For instance, according to one study, drinking skim, and low-fat milk may raise your risk of developing the illness. Another study adds that eating cheese may speed up Parkinson’s disease progression. A person with Parkinson’s may therefore want to refrain from ingesting these dairy products in large amounts.

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Sugar And Refined Carbs

Sugary foods can cause blood sugar spikes which may aggravate your Parkinson’s disease symptoms, such as tremors and muscle stiffness.

Avoid Gluten 

This protein contains wheat proteins that are harmful to people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. 

Mix Diet and Exercise

An essential component of a healthy lifestyle is exercise. It helps with overall health, including weight loss and alleviation of Parkinson’s disease symptoms. Also, it can help you sleep better, reduce anxiety or depression and improve your mood. 

Exercise is also good for those dealing with Parkinson’s because it increases blood flow to the brain, which boosts cognitive function.

Follow A Meal Plan That Is Healthy And Balanced

A good diet is one of the best ways to manage Parkinson’s disease. It can help prevent weight gain and slow muscle loss, making everyday activities easier. Liberalize your diet instead of obsessing over dietary limitations. In moderation, include foods from all important food groups, such as grains, protein, fruits, vegetables, and dairy. 

To prevent weight loss and maximize nutrient intake and utilization, don’t skip meals or wait more than 4 hours between meals. Parkinson’s disease can be stopped from getting worse by eating healthy and avoiding some foods. However, you must lead a generally healthy lifestyle to increase your chances of avoiding the illness’ crippling effects. 

Benefits of following a meal plan for individuals with Parkinson’s Disease.

Following a meal plan is particularly beneficial for individuals with Parkinson’s Disease, as it can help manage symptoms and promote overall well-being. A well-structured meal plan can address potential issues such as difficulty chewing or swallowing, common challenges in Parkinson’s patients. Following a meal plan is beneficial for individuals with Parkinson’s Disease in several ways, including:

– Managing symptoms and promoting well-being: A well-structured meal plan helps manage the unique challenges faced by individuals with Parkinson’s Disease and ensure their overall health and well-being.

– Addressing eating difficulties: Parkinson’s patients often struggle with issues such as difficulty chewing or swallowing, which can be tackled efficiently with the help of a customized meal plan.

– Supporting medication effectiveness: A balanced diet can enhance the potency of prescribed medicines and minimize their interaction with certain foods, hence reducing potential side effects.

– Maintaining a healthy weight: Consuming nutrient-rich foods as part of a regulated meal plan aids in managing weight, a common concern for Parkinson’s patients.

– Managing gastrointestinal issues: A tailored eating regime can address potential gastrointestinal issues that are typically associated with Parkinson’s Disease.

– Enhancing energy levels: An appropriately structured meal plan provides necessary nutrition and improves energy levels in individuals living with Parkinson’s Disease.

– Tailored to individual needs: A healthcare professional or a registered dietitian can help customize the meal plan according to the specific requirements of the patient, enhancing their overall nutritional intake and health.

Stay Fit!

With the right Parkinson’s disease diet, you can protect your body from the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Additionally, this will help you to feel better and live a more comfortable lifestyle. A controlled diet is also important because it helps maintain muscle, often affected by Parkinson’s disease.

It also has been shown over time to reduce inflammation in the brain, which can lead to reduced certain effects of the disease! If you’re unsure where to start, you can work with a certified trainer. Check out the nearest Special Strong location and access your free 7-day pass today!

Special Strong provides adaptive fitness for children, adolescents, and adults with mental, physical and cognitive challenges. Start your own Special Strong gym franchise today and create a lasting impact on your community.