Proper Nutrition Is Key for Patients with Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and progressive movement disorder that is diagnosed in more than 50,000 Americans each year. As Parkinson’s disease progresses, patients lose more control of their movements. People with Parkinson’s disease often have nutritional issues like bone thinning, dehydration, bowel impaction and weight loss.

Maintaining general health and fitness can help combat these conditions. Choosing a balanced, nutritious diet is important in Parkinson’s. Read on to learn more about the best options for your body when living with Parkinson’s disease:

  • Choose foods with antioxidants. A diet high in antioxidants is good for overall brain health and may help with constipation associated with Parkinson’s. Grains, eggs, fruits and vegetables, dark chocolate, nuts and legumes like kidney beans, edamame, and lentils are all antioxidant-rich foods.
    Increase fluid intake. Try to drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water or other cold fluids (like Gatorade or V8 juice) each day. This can help you maintain regularity.
  • Reduce sugar. Passing on the sweets is important in Parkinson’s. A diet loaded with sugar favors calories over nutrients, and can also lead to tooth decay.
  • Say no to salt. Reducing your salt and sodium intake can help protect against developing high blood pressure.
  • Eat to prevent cramping. Painful muscle cramping is common in people with Parkinson’s. You can help reduce cramping by eating yellow mustard, which contains turmeric, or drinking tonic water, which contains quinine. Vinegar and pickle juice have also been known to help.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation. Alcohol is full of empty calories and has virtually no nutritional value. It can also cause health problems and is not recommended when taking certain medications.
    Ease swallowing issues with soft foods. Many people with Parkinson’s have trouble swallowing. When this is the case, soft foods are the best option. It also helps to eat and drink slowly, and adjust your posture to help the food go down more easily.

Maintaining a healthy diet is just one of many things you can do to live well with Parkinson’s disease. To learn more about Parkinson’s or any of our Neurosurgical Services, please contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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