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Diet and management of Parkinson’s disease

December 29, 2021 E-newsletter Article of Parkinson's Lifestyle Management. Visit their Facebook Page HERE. Register for more of their news HERE.

What should I eat, are there specific diets or nutritional supplements I should be taking to manage Parkinson’s? These are frequent questions and considerations and the answer is simple, try to eat a well-balanced meal, there is not a particular diet. When shopping, look for the nutritional value of foods so you will have a healthy body to possess the vitality necessary to perform your everyday activities efficiently. I would recommend speaking with your physician and a dietitian concerning the nutritional value of foods and what you must include in your diet.

In preparing your grocery list, attempt to incorporate foods from each category, vegetables that are rich in fiber as legumes (beans), bran, pasta, brown rice, whole grain products, and fresh fruits.

Minimize purchasing foods that are rich in saturated fats, high in cholesterol or sugar. Now, this is the toughest factor for my clients to understand as part of a healthy diet, you have to drink water, when I say consume water I mean drink 8 eight, 8oz. glasses of water per day. Restrict the consumption of alcoholic beverages especially in the evening hours, alcohol consumption can inhibit sleep as well as provides virtually no caloric value, a lot of calories, and no food value.

One of the issues my client's complaint about is constipation which is very common with Parkinson’s disease. If you are eating a healthy diet from all the food categories which should include fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains and cereals, and drinking water this shouldn’t be a problem. If it is then see your doctor as well as speak with a dietitian.

Additionally, low blood pressure could be a symptom of Parkinson’s or a result of a side effect from medications. Increasing fluid and sodium (salt) consumption will help to raise the blood pressure but speak with your doctor. Include cold fluids as water, sports drinks like Gatorade and V8 to your diet limiting beverages with caffeine and alcohol which can contribute to dehydration and low blood pressure.

When to eat in relationship to taking medications is important since the most common mediation for Parkinson’s disease is levodopa-- which a building block for protein. Protein is broken down into amino acid in the body and the amino acid goes to the brain by passing through the blood-brain barrier. Natural protein amino acid will be absorbed first as it competes with the medication for Parkinson’s which renders a reduction in its potency. Simply take your medications 30 minutes prior to eating or an hour after a meal allowing the small intestines to absorb medications. If necessary adjust the diet to be more carbohydrates during the day and your daily requirement of proteins at night. When taking any mediation on an empty stomach may cause nausea or an upset stomach. If this is the case try eating crackers, toast, or biscuit with the medication, this should solve the problem. If you taking an iron supplement it could also affect the absorption of levodopa and should be taken with a two-hour separation from taken the Parkinson’s medication.

I have had clients you have had the painful experience of muscle cramps during the night as the medications loses their potency. Here are some suggestions that may work, my client drank Alka Seltzer with tonic water that contains quinine, and you may try yellow mustard or the spice turmeric. Others endorse salt, vinegar or pickle juice. Maintaining adequate hydration may prevent or limit cramping.

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