Diet & Nutrition For Parkinson’s Disease: What Foods To Eat?

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disease which is incurable. In this disorder a small portion of brain gets affected. The characteristic symptoms of Parkinson’s are tremor, stiffness, and slowness of movement. Parkinson’s disease progresses gradually. The patient suffering from this disease becomes stooped, and has expressionless face. He also suffers from speech problems, always drools and there is loss of dexterity. There is an abnormal movement of thumb and finger as if he is rolling pills.

The disease occurs in later years of life. The exact cause of Parkinson’s disease is not known but it occurs when nerve cells in the brain fails to function properly.

This leads to less production of dopamine, one of the chemicals required for transmission of message between the nerves. The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease may vary in severity.

Diet And Foods To Eat For Parkinson’s Disease Patients

People suffering from Parkinson’s disease may not require a special diet, but a diet balanced with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients may be extremely helpful for the patient. A diet consisting of certain foods will keep up the energy level, help the cells to function at their optimum and above all facilitate the drugs to work efficiently.

The basic principle is to have variety of food that may have all the required nutrition in them.

It should have minimum to moderate amount of salt and sugar, more of fiber and less of saturated fats. Patient should drink enough water to keep him hydrated. Below are some of the foods that are useful:

  • With Parkinson’s disease, there are number of problems people face while eating and drinking. They are unable to chew and swallow the food properly. They also lose weight due to less intake of food as a result of difficulty in eating. They should eat foods that are easy to swallow. Boiled milk, fruit juices, rice, mashed banana, omelet, soups, cooked vegetables, milk shakes etc does not require much chewing and can be swallowed easily.
  • Constipation is a common problem for patients suffering from Parkinson’s. Sometimes chronic constipation can lead to obstruction of bowels. So incorporate more of fiber containing foods. Fibers from fruits, vegetables and grains are beneficial as they help to speed up the food through the system. Fruits such as figs, prunes, papaya, and pineapple are valuable as they have the natural laxative effect. Also they should have at least 8 to 9 glasses of water in a day for good gastric and intestinal motility.
  • Food containing antioxidants are valuable as they engulf the damaging free radicals which are circulating in the system. Berries such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberry have high amount of anti oxidants in them. Green tea also contains antioxidants and it is provides the fluid for the body.
  • Cranberry juice requires a special mention because many patients may suffer recurrent urinary tract infections. Cranberry juice has certain chemicals which prevent E. coli germs from attaching on the inside of bladder wall. Especially it is beneficial in women as they are more at risk of suffering from UTI.
  • Lentils and fish such as salmon, sardine and tuna provide enough protein for maintaining strength of muscles. Low fat yogurt is also beneficial as it is both high in protein as well as calcium. The healthy bacteria in yogurt improve digestion. Patients can take a cup of yogurt daily in their diet.
  • Minority of patients suffer from nausea. Ginger tea is a time tested natural cure for nausea. Use freshly grated ginger for preparing the tea.

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