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Craving Tip #: Seek Out Support Instead Of Sugar
Stress increases cortisol levels, which will send you straight for the ice cream! A Parkinsons diagnosis can be very stressful, making it even more important to have support to get you through the tougher days.
It is so important to have a support system – whether that be friends, family, and/or a good psychologist. Stuffing your feelings and frustrations down will only lead to more sugar cravings and feeling worse overall.
If your support network is lacking, make sure you have at least one stress-reducing strategy in your daily routine, such as meditation, journaling, art, prayer, deep breathing, or yoga.
Demographic And Clinical Characteristics
Demographic information pertaining to the cohort studied here has been reported previously . In summary, a total of 103 PD patients and 81 healthy controls completed the FFQ. Demographic, anthropometric, clinical and nutritional features of the study population are reported in Table 1.
Table 1. Cohort demographic and clinical characteristics.
The mean BMI of the combined cohort was 26.0 . PD patients were not underweight and their BMI did not differ significantly from HC . 5.5% of subjects reported a history of diabetes, with no statistically significant difference observed between the groups for this measure. More PD patients reported chronic pain over the preceding year than HC . PD patients were also more depressed, as measured by the Beck’s Depression Inventory . PD patients also reported more constipation, as measured by the Cleveland Constipation Score and Rome IV Criteria . Furthermore, PD patients reported more dyspepsia as measured by the Leeds Dyspepsia Questionnaire . Physical activity, assessed by the IPAQ, identified that PD patients undertook considerably less physical activity compared to the HC group . Further clinical characteristics of the PD cohort including the utilisation of standard and device assisted therapies, physical activity and frequency and severity of other non-motor symptoms are outlined in Table 2.
Table 2. Parkinson’s disease clinical characteristics.
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Constipation And Hydration In Parkinsons Disease
As Parkinsons disease can cause constipation, the Parkinsons Foundation recommends a diet featuring 20 to 25 grams of daily fiber to maintain bowel health.
Its really important for overall health to keep bowels moving, Subramanian says. We recommend a diet with a lot of vegetables and as much fiber as you can take. Foods that are high in prebiotics, including fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchee, can also help.
Some Parkinsons disease medications dont work as well when taken with fermented foods, however, so check with your doctor before incorporating them into your diet.
Proper hydration is also important for everyone, including people who have Parkinsons disease. Try to drink six to eight glasses of water a day and take your medications with a full glass of water, the Parkinsons Foundation notes. It may help your body break down the medication more efficiently.
Hydration helps with blood pressure and constipation, Subramanian notes. We recommend our Parkinsons patients drink 40 ounces of water a day. Thats just water, not coffee or tea or other drinks. This can also help improve digestion.
If drinking water leads to urinary urgency, try eating foods with a high water content like celery, butternut squash, grapefruit, strawberries, and watermelon instead.
Dietitians Speech Pathologists And Mental Health Experts Can Help Too
Talking to a registered dietitian can help you make changes to your diet for example, by learning how to use thickening liquids or soften solid foods.
If swallowing continues to be a problem, a speech-language pathologist may be able to help you find ways to make swallowing easier.
A speech pathologist who is also a swallow therapist can do a swallow study, a test during which you try different foods and they monitor how you swallow using an X-ray machine, Subramanian explains. Food aspiration, or when food gets into your lungs, can be a problem with Parkinsons disease, so the swallow study can identify problem foods and your doctors can recommend changes and diet modifications to make eating safer.
Finally, as anxiety or depression are common in people with Parkinsons and can suppress appetite, its important to recognize symptoms associated with these behavioral health conditions and seek out treatment if needed.
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Blood Sugar And Energy Levels
Every cell in the human body relies on sugar for energy. When blood sugar rises, the body produces a hormone to ferry glucose out of the blood stream and into cells. When blood sugar drops, the body secretes different hormones to raise it. In this way, our blood-sugar and hormone levels are in constant flux, ensuring our cells access to glucose. But drastic swings in blood sugar levels sap us of energy, leading to lethargy and fatigue.
Parkinsons Symptoms More Severe With Metabolic Syndrome
In 2017, a University of Colorado study found that metabolic syndrome also is connected with how quickly Parkinsons progresses once the disease has been diagnosed.
Dr. Maureen Leehey and her colleagues looked at data on 1022 patients with Parkinsons. Of these, 396 also had been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome.
Over a three-year follow-up period, those with metabolic syndrome showed a more significant increase in scores on the Unified Parkinsons Disease Rating Scale , a measure of the severity of symptoms.
Finally, a study that followed people with Parkinsons for five years discovered that those who also had metabolic syndrome were more likely to experience cognitive impairment.
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Add Medication For A Winning Combo
Diet and exercise are important for managing PD, but dont forget about medications. Take them regularly and exactly as your doctor prescribes.
If you tend to forget your medication, set an alarm to remind you. You can also use a pillbox thats labeled with days and times of day. Take your meds on a set schedule, dont skip doses and dont double dose, says Dr. Gostkowski. When youre diligent about taking your medications and following a healthy lifestyle, youll feel your best.
Treatment Of Parkinsons Disease
No cure exists for Parkinsons disease, and treatments aim to improve the quality of life for patients and prevent symptoms from progressing. Medication such as levodopa may be used, which the body converts to dopamine, as well as dopamine agonists and monoamine oxidase-B inhibitors.
Physiotherapy and speech therapy may be advised if the disease progresses, while surgery could be considered to help ease symptoms when medications are not working well.
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Have You Come Across Advice That Those With Parkinsons Should Avoid Too Much Refined Sugar Or Perhaps Youre Aware Of New Research Linking Diabetes And The Condition We Go Behind The Headlines To Find Out What Is Actually Going On
Over the last decade, a war on sugar has started. In March 2016 the government announced that a tax on sugary soft drinks would be introduced in the UK from 2018. At the same time, weve seen a gradual increase in messaging that healthy eating, particularly limiting your intake of sugar, is essential for a healthy body.
The main aim of this war is to curb a growing obesity pandemic. And while its too early to draw any conclusions about these initiatives on the patterns of obesity in the UK, studies have suggested that simply reducing the sugar content of sweetened beverages by 40% over five years could result in roughly half a million fewer obese adults. As our collective national waistline shrinks, the hope is we will also see a reduction in a range of health conditions from heart problems to cancer, diabetes to osteoarthritis.
Foods That Are Hard To Chew
Many people with Parkinsons have difficulty with chewing and swallowing foods. A person needs medical help if this is the case. A speech and language therapist may be able to help a person overcome this issue.
However, if a person is finding certain foods hard to chew and swallow, they may wish to avoid these foods.
Such foods include:
- dry, crumbly foods
- tough or chewy meats
If a person does wish to eat chewy meats, they could try using gravy or sauce to soften them and make eating easier.
They could also try chopping meat into smaller pieces or incorporating meat into casseroles, which can make it more tender.
Having a drink with a meal can also make chewing and swallowing easier.
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Eat Plenty Of Protein But Not With Levodopa Medications
If youre taking a levodopa medication, your doctor may tell you to avoid protein when taking your meds. Both animal and plant protein can interfere with the absorption of levodopa medications.
But you should still eat plenty of protein. Just be strategic with the timing. Dont take levodopa medications with meals, Dr. Gostkowski says. Its best to take it on an empty stomach either 30 minutes before your meal or an hour after eating.
If you get nauseous from the medication, eat a small amount of starchy food with it, such as crackers. Make sure whatever you eat with your medicine doesnt have protein. Its a misunderstanding that people with Parkinsons should avoid protein, Dr. Gostkowski says. You definitely need protein in your diet. Just dont eat it when youre taking your levodopa medication.
When You Have No Appetite
Some days, you just may not feel like eating at all.
Talk to your doctor. Sometimes, depression can cause poor appetite. Your hunger likely will return when you get treatment.
Walk or do another light activity to rev up your appetite.
Drink beverages after youâve finished eating so you donât feel full before the meal.
Include your favorite foods in your menu. Eat the high-calorie foods on your plate first. But avoid empty calories from sugary sodas, candies, and chips.
Perk up your meals by trying different dishes and ingredients.
Choose high-protein and high-calorie snacks, including:
- Ice cream
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Optimise Your Diet Reduce Your Toxic Load
While the cause of Parkinsons is not known, environmental toxins such as pesticides and herbicides are implicated. Researchers have found levels of these chemicals to be higher in the brains of Parkinsons sufferers and incidence of Parkinsons is higher in areas with greater use of these chemicals. It makes sense to avoid any environmental toxins that you can. Also, consider your intake of dietary toxins such as alcohol and caffeine avoiding or reducing these may reduce the load on your bodys detoxification pathways.
How To Eat Well
Eat a variety of foods from each food category, like fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. If you think you need vitamin supplements, check with your doctor first.
Keep your weight in the healthy range for your age and height with exercise and a good diet.
Load up on fiber with foods like broccoli, peas, apples, cooked split peas and beans, whole-grain breads, cereals, and pasta.
Cut down on sugar, salt, and saturated fats from meat and dairy, and cholesterol.
Drink 8 cups of water every day.
Ask your doctor you can drink alcohol. It may keep your medications from working right.
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How Can Protein Affect My Medication
In some people, protein may interfere with the effects of their levodopa medication. Therefore its generally advised that you should take your Parkinsons medication at least 30 to 45 minutes before meals.
Some people with Parkinsons have told us that their medication is less affected by some milk alternatives, such as rice milk, although there is no actual evidence to support this.
You may also find it helpful to:
- reduce the amount of protein you eat earlier in the day. This may help to increase the response your body has to the medication and avoid unpredictable motor fluctuations
- eat your main protein meal in the evening, as a slower response to medication may not be as
- important as at other times of the day
- If you do wish to review the timing of your protein intake, you should talk to your GP, specialist or
- Parkinsons nurse, or ask to see a registered dietitian.
You shouldnt stop eating protein altogether as its vital to help your body renew itself and fight infection. Reducing protein may cause dangerous weight loss.
We cant list all the possible side effects of all Parkinsons drugs here, but some Parkinsons medication may cause:
- nausea and vomiting
- dry mouth
These side effects may interfere with your appetite, which may lead to you eating and drinking less. A dietitian may be able to advise you on how to manage these symptoms, especially if they affect your normal appetite.
Foods High In Saturated Fat
The role that foods high in saturated fats play in Parkinsons progression is still under investigation and is often conflicting. We might eventually discover that there are certain types of saturated fats that actually help people with Parkinsons.
But in general, foods that have been fried or heavily processed alter your metabolism, increase blood pressure, and impact your cholesterol. None of those things are good for your body, especially if youre trying to treat Parkinsons.
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What Can I Do To Help With Swallowing
Make sure you are comfortable at meal times. The following suggestions may help make it easier to eat:
- Take your time and eat in a comfortable, quiet place.
- If you feel you are taking too long and food is getting cold, consider eating smaller, more frequent meals and snacks, or food that is easier to eat.
- You can buy heated plates to keep food warm for longer or consider serving smaller portions so that a second portion can be kept warm or reheated if its safe to do so.
- Posture is important to trigger a good swallow. Try eating sitting upright in your chair.
- Try planning your meals for when your medication is working. Avoid trying to eat large meals when you are ‘off’.
- If you wear dentures try to ensure they fit comfortably. Ask for a review by your dentist if you are concerned.
- Try to eat when you are less tired, this may mean moving your main meal to lunchtime rather than in the evening.
Make Changes Now To Avoid All Three
What does all this research mean for you? In all of these studies, the researchers saw that the same symptoms that put us at risk for diabetes and heart disease also seem to put us at greater risk for Parkinsons disease.
The reasons are unclear. It could very well have to do with the health of blood vessels that feed both heart and brain. Research has also shown that insulin resistance increases the chances of Alzheimers disease and dementia.
A 2011 study may shed some light. It indicated that subjects who followed a Mediterranean diet were less likely to also develop Parkinsons disease.
In any case, one thing seems clear: making the following lifestyle changes now could keep us safe from heart disease, diabetes and Parkinsons in the future
Adopt a healthier eating style. Notice we didnt use the word diet. Stick to fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, lean meats and nuts, and avoid processed foods that are full of chemicals.
Exercise. Starting an exercise program can strengthen your heart and prevent heart disease, even with a family history of heart disease. And, doctors have known for a while now that staying active protects the brain from Parkinsons and dementia.
Dont smoke. Get help from your doctor or a smoking cessation program.
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Foods To Avoid In A Parkinsons Disease Diet
If your goal is to maintain overall health with Parkinsons disease and it should be you should avoid or reduce your intake of some of the same potentially harmful foods as people without the condition.
For example, a diet with lots of sugar can add too many calories and provide your body with too few nutrients. It can also contribute to tooth decay and increase your risk of diabetes.
In addition, foods high in salt and sodium content can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. According to the American Heart Association, some of the saltiest foods in typical diets include:
- Breads and rolls
- Cold cuts and cured meats
- Burritos and tacos
Most of our patients have problems with low blood pressure, due to issues with autonomic nervous system function in Parkinsons disease, Subramanian adds. So in some cases, we recommend a little extra salt in the diet, or even energy drinks, to boost blood pressure.
Either way, you should check with your doctor about taking appropriate dietary steps to manage blood pressure along with Parkinsons disease.
Also limit foods high in calories and fat, particularly saturated and trans fat, which can increase your risk of heart problems as well as certain types of cancer and make it more difficult for you maintain a healthy weight.