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Parkinson's Diet - Food to Eat and to Avoid

Have you ever heard of the Parkinson’s Diet (PD)? If this is your first time hearing or seeing this technique, read more through this article. 

Parkinson’s Diet exists due to Parkinson’s Disease. Parkinson's disease is a condition of the brain that may produce movements that are not intended or cannot be controlled, such as shaking, rigidity, and trouble with balance and coordination.

In most cases, symptoms start mild and get more severe over time. People who have the illness may have difficulties walking and communicating as the condition worsens. They may also have changes in their mental and behavioral state, trouble sleeping, sadness, difficulty remembering, and extreme weariness.

Parkinson's disease is caused by the degeneration or death of nerve cells in the basal ganglia, a region of the brain responsible for regulating movement. In a healthy brain, these nerve cells, also known as neurons, are responsible for producing an essential neurotransmitter known as dopamine. The inability to move properly is one of the condition's symptoms, which is caused by neuronal death or impairment that leads to decreased dopamine production. The researchers are still baffled as to what triggers the death of the neurons.

That’s why people who experience the effect of this disease need to have a proper diet and nutrition, as this can help them manage their symptoms. 

People who have PD benefit significantly from having a licensed dietitian (RD) or nutritionist on their care team. Dietitians-in-training is trained professionals that specialize in food and nutrition. They can provide valuable suggestions on managing PD symptoms, such as difficulties swallowing, constipation, or weight changes.

According to them, those who have PD should strive to meet the following dietary goals:

  • Increasing consumption of fiber to alleviate constipation
  • Preserving one's level of hydration
  • Providing enough amount of calories to stop either weight loss or an abnormal increase in weight
  • Protecting against bone loss and a lack of vitamin D
  • In the latter stages of Parkinson's disease, medication may need to be administered three times or more per day, and eating protein-rich meals may become problematic.

To achieve the dietary goals, here is the list of foods that can be eaten and should be avoided when you have PD.

Food to Eat

Oil extracted from fish and omega-3 fatty acids.

There is evidence from specific studies that show that fish oil might help reduce the course of Parkinson's disease. 

According to some studies, omega-3 fats may assist in lowering nerve inflammation, enhancing neurotransmission, and reducing the rate of neurodegeneration. Therefore, those with Parkinson's disease may benefit by either increasing the amount of fatty fish in their diet that is high in omega-3s or taking an omega-3 supplement.

Mackerel, salmon, herring, oysters, sardines, and anchovies are all examples of types of fish and seafood with high concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3 fatty acids may help lessen the risk of dementia and confusion in general and maybe deliver immediate advantages to people who have Parkinson's disease. These are additional symptoms that are caused by Parkinson's disease.

Fava beans

Levodopa is the treatment for Parkinson's disease that has shown to be the most successful. Because fava beans contain levodopa, there is a school of thought that asserts they may alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

Although there is some evidence that fava beans may benefit those living with Parkinson's disease, individuals mustn't take fava beans as a substitute for medically prescribed medications.

Foods that are rich in nutrients for specific individuals may be lacking.

According to the findings of several studies, patients who have Parkinson's disease often suffer from dietary deficiencies. These deficiencies might include a lack of iron, vitamin B1, vitamin C, zinc, and vitamin D.

According to the research referenced before, some of these impairments may be linked to neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration, which are essential contributors to Parkinson's disease.

People living with Parkinson's disease may choose to increase their consumption of the foods listed below.

Foods containing iron: Liver, Red meat, Beans, Nuts

Foods containing vitamin B1: Peas, Bananas, Oranges, Nuts, Wholegrain bread

Foods containing vitamin C: Citrus fruits, Peppers, Strawberries, Broccoli, Potatoes

Foods containing zinc: Meat, Shellfish, Bread, and Cereal products, such as wheat germ

Foods containing vitamin D: Oily fish, Red meat, Egg yolks, Certain fortified foods

Foods containing antioxidants: Blueberries, Cranberries, Grapes, Cherries, Strawberries, and raspberries, pecans, walnuts, and brazil nuts, spices such as turmeric, herbs such as parsley, cocoa powder, and cacao products, broccoli, artichokes, spinach, and kale, citrus fruits, green tea, navy beans, black beans, and kidney beans.

Food to Avoid

Foods that have been processed.

According to a few research findings, consuming a diet that is more "Western-style" may be associated with a more severe manifestation of Parkinson's disease symptoms.

This kind of eating involves consuming a lot of manufactured foods. Canned foods, drinks, morning cereals, chips, bacon, ready meals, sweets, and cakes are all processed foods. Other examples include pre-made meals.

According to the findings of one research, the consumption of some of these things, such as canned foods and sodas, may be connected with a "more rapid development" of Parkinson's disease.

Particular kinds of dairy products.

According to the findings of specific studies, consuming dairy products may put one at a greater risk of developing Parkinson's disease. Eating dairy products like yogurt and cheese may be linked to the more rapid development of Parkinson's disease. Because of this, a person who has PD should probably try to limit the amount of these dairy products that they consume.

Foods high in cholesterol and saturated fat.

According to a few research findings, increased consumption of dietary fat may raise the chance of developing Parkinson's disease. Although eating more foods rich in cholesterol might increase a person's chance of developing Parkinson's disease, eating more foods high in polyunsaturated fatty acids can lower that risk.

As a result, someone who has Parkinson's disease may want to cut down on the amount of cholesterol they consume to manage the symptoms of the illness. They might benefit by lowering the quantity of saturated fat in their diet.

However, further research is necessary to investigate the possible connection between dietary fat and Parkinson's disease.

Foods that require a lot of effort to chew.

Chewing and swallowing are two tasks that may be challenging for many people with Parkinson's disease. If this is the case, the individual has to seek medical assistance. Someone struggling with this condition might benefit from working with a speech and language therapist.

On the other hand, if a person finds that particular meals are difficult to chew and swallow, they should probably avoid eating such items. These foods include those that are hard, dry, or crumbly and meats that are rough or chewy.

If someone wants to consume chewy meats, they might attempt to soften them with gravy or sauce to be easier to chew and swallow. They might also try slicing the meat into tiny pieces or include it in casseroles, both of which have the potential to make the flesh softer. In addition, studies have shown that consuming a beverage with a meal might facilitate better chewing and swallowing of food.


Parkinson’s Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments 

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