What to Eat and Not to Eat with Parkinson's Disease

Author: Brian Heckman

You’ve probably heard of Parkinson’s Disease or know someone who suffers with it. It is a progressive disease that affects the central nervous system, making movement, balance and muscle control become very difficult. Over time, it can cause total loss of control over certain body functions. More than 50,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with PD each year, and although there is no cure, there are many treatments to help manage the disease. One such option involves nutrition. Keep reading to learn what seniors with Parkinson’s should be eating.

Eating a Nutritious Diet for Parkinson’s Disease

Proper nutrition is important in all aspects of our lives, but it’s crucial in managing symptoms of Parkinson’s. Because the disease affects fine motor skills, eating can become challenging. Also, medications used to manage PD can have side-effects such as dry mouth, nausea, vomiting and excessive watering in the mouth.

To avoid feeling dehydrated or constipated, increased fiber should be added to the diet. This will also help boost energy. Fiber is found in many foods such as grains, cereals and bread, and in several vegetables like peas and broccoli. Hydration is key, so seniors with Parkinson’s should be drinking at least 51 ounces of water daily. Less salt, meat, and dairy are also helpful to manage Parkinson’s symptoms.

Here are some other helpful tips:

  • Eat slowly and take smaller bites
  • Smaller meals can help with nausea
  • Drink beverages between meals, rather than with them
  • Try not to mix hot and cold foods
  • Eat colder foods if the smell of hot foods causes nausea
  • Rest after meals

What to Eat with Parkinson’s Disease

Berries: Blueberries, blackberries, pomegranates, and cranberries are all loaded with antioxidants.
Salmon, tuna, and sardines: These fatty fish options are high in omega 3s and very nutritious.
Green tea: You can drink it hot or cold and it is full of antioxidants.
Prunes: Prunes fight constipation issues and are high in fiber, potassium, potassium and vitamin A.
Ginger: Ginger root is wonderful for preventing nausea caused by the medications or the disease on its own. 
Chocolate: Not only is dark chocolate a great dessert to satisfy that sweet tooth, but it is also high in antioxidants and flavonoids that help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

What Not to Eat with Parkinson’s Disease

Dairy: Dairy causes inflammation and can affect how the brain utilizes oxygen, so it’s best to steer clear. Calcium supplements can be helpful as well. 
Saturated fat: High-fat foods are unhealthy all around and increase cholesterol and blood pressure. 
Excessive sugar: Sugar offers nothing nutritionally. Limit processed foods and try to eat fresh. You can also avoid extra sugar by reading the labels on things like jams and jellies.

Services to Help Those with Parkinson’s

A well-balanced diet goes a long way in managing the symptoms of PD. While there isn’t an exact diet plan, these tips can give you or your senior loved one the best shot possible at utilizing nutrition to help manage Parkinson’s Disease.

For more information, please contact us today!

Home Helpers of Canton is a locally-owned, trusted home health care agency and offers quality, compassionate senior in-home care services including home care assistance, personal care, companion care, respite care, 24-hour care and live-in care, Alzheimer's & dementia care, Parkinson's care. post-operative home care as well as homemaker services in Akron, Alliance, Aurora, Brewster, Brimfield, Canton, East Canton, East Sparta, Hartville, Jackson, Kent, Louisville, Mantua, Massillon, Minerva, Mogadore, Navarre, North Canton, Randolph, Ravenna, Streetsboro, Suffield, Tallmadge, and Waynesburg, Ohio.

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