Monday, March 4, 2024

Mediterranean Diet And Parkinson’s

A Complete Parkinsons Diet Guide

Study: Mediterranean-like diet could help those with Parkinson’s manage symptoms

When living with Parkinsons, diet can help you stay healthy and may help with some of the symptoms. Eating a healthy diet will lead you to not only feel better but will also lead to more likely living a longer and more full life.

Before we get started it is important to say that the only evidence-based diets that are shown to be good for Parkinsons are general healthy diets that work for everyone regardless of Parkinsons. The Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest diets out there, which is why we recommend it to those with Parkinsons.

So, with that said here are some tips and foods you should consider including in your diet if you have Parkinsons.

Mind And Mediterranean Diets Associated With Delayed Onset Of Parkinson Disease

A new study from UBC researchers suggests a strong correlation between following the MIND and Mediterranean diets and later onset of Parkinson disease. While researchers have long known of neuroprotective effects of the MIND diet for diseases like Alzheimer disease and dementia, this study is the first to suggest a link between this diet and brain health for Parkinson disease. The MIND diet combines aspects of two popular diets, the Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet.

The study shows that individuals with Parkinson disease have a significantly later age of onset if their eating pattern closely aligns with the Mediterranean-type diet , according to Dr Silke Appel-Cresswell of the Pacific Parkinsons Research Centre, the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, and the Division of Neurology in the UBC Faculty of Medicine.

Researchers looked at adherence to these types of diets, characterized by reduced meat intake and a focus on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats, and the age of Parkinson disease onset. The MIND diet showed a more significant impact on womens health, whereas the Mediterranean diet did for men. The differences in these two diets are subtle but could serve as clues to the impacts specific foods and micronutrients may have on brain health.

The study was published in Movement Disorders and is available online at .

Mind And Mediterranean Diets Associated With Later Onset Of Parkinson’s Disease

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Michael Smith Laboratories, UBC, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Michael Smith Laboratories, UBC, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Pacific Parkinson’s Research Centre and Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, UBC, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Division of Neurology, Faculty of Medicine, UBC, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Michael Smith Laboratories, UBC, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, UBC, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Pacific Parkinson’s Research Centre and Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, UBC, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Division of Neurology, Faculty of Medicine, UBC, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Correspondence to: Dr. Silke Appel-Cresswell, Pacific Parkinson’s Research Centre, University of British Columbia, 2221 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 2B5, Canada E-mail:

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Michael Smith Laboratories, UBC, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Michael Smith Laboratories, UBC, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Funding agencies:

Read Also: Latest Medication For Parkinson’s Disease

The Mediterranean Diet And Parkinsons Risk

Several studies have shown an association between Parkinsons risk and the Mediterranean dietary pattern.

Study Gao et al.

A study published in 2007 which followed 2 large groups, the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study and the Nurses Health Study, showed an inverse association between adherence to a Mediterranean diet and risk of Parkinsons. Participants who adhered to a Mediterranean diet the most showed a 25% reduction in the risk of Parkinsons compared to those who adhered to the diet the least.

Study Alcalay et al.

A study published in 2012 showed lower adherence to a Mediterranean diet was associated with Parkinsons. In this study, higher adherence to the diet was associated with reduced odds of having Parkinsons and for each additional Mediterranean diet scoring point, the odds of having Parkinsons were lower by 14%. Among Parkinsons participants, greater diet adherence was associated with later Parkinsons disease age-at-onset. This finding suggests that dietary behaviour may be associated with the age-at-onset of Parkinsons.

Study .

Study Lin et al.

Basic Concepts Of The Mediterranean Diet

MIND and Mediterranean Diets Associated with Later Onset ...

The components of a Mediterranean diet include:

  • Eat mainlyplant-based foods, such as a variety of fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains, nuts, and legumes, including lentils, chickpeas, beans, and peas.
  • Consume a small amount of low-fat protein, either chicken or fatty fish, such as salmon, albacore tuna, or mackerel, a few times per week.
  • Limit red meat to a few times a month.
  • Avoid salt and instead flavor your meals with spices and herbs.
  • Drink red wine in moderation .
  • Replace butter with a healthier fat like extra virgin olive oil.
  • Limit dairy, including cream, milk, and ice cream.

Also Check: Best Treatment For Parkinson’s

Limitations Of The Research

The main issue with this study is that it assumes that how a person eats remains unchanged over their lifetime. “In particular, it assumes that a single questionnaire on how a person eats after they have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s for several years closely captures how they ate decades before,” says James Beck, PhD, chief scientific officer of the Parkinsons Foundation.

Beck points out that epidemiology studies can’t demonstrate a direct cause and effect from how a person ate in their 20s and 30s, and the likelihood of developing Parkinson’s decades later. However, he also says that it’s clear from previous research that healthy diets, in particular Mediterranean diets, are often linked with a lower incidence of Parkinsons disease.

What This Means For You

You don’t need to have an increased risk of Parkinson’s to benefit from the Mediterranean diet or the MIND diet. If either of these eating plans appeal to you, a registered dietitian can help you get started and ensure you choose foods that provide all the necessary nutrients.

If you have any questions about diet and Parkinson’s disease, you can contact the free Parkinson’s Foundation Helpline on 1-800-4PD-INFO .

You May Like: Nursing Management Of Parkinson’s Disease

How Can You Maintain Your Bowel Health

Bowel problems are common in Parkinsons patients, whichDr Bloem said can be alleviated by drinking a lot of water and eating a dietrich in fibres. People with Parkinsons should see their general practitionerfor laxatives only if all else fails. The rule is you need to have bowelmovements at least once every other day.

Thomas added: I have a three litre water bottle that I finish by the end of the day. It is a challenge, but I try to finish it. Because I struggle very greatly with constipation, I take three or four ounces of prune juice in the morning and that seems to help me.

Mediterranean Diet May Lower Parkinsons Disease Risk


People who closely followed a Mediterranean diethigh in fruits, vegetables, legumes, fish, whole grains, and unsaturated fatswere less likely to develop early symptoms of Parkinsons disease, compared to those who ate less-healthy diets, according to a new study led by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

While Parkinsons disease is most known for movement-related symptoms such as tremors, early symptoms can include constipation, excessive daytime sleepiness, and depression.

Researchers looked at health data from 47,679 participants in the Nurses Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. They compared participants diets to a Mediterranean-style diet and also scored what they ate using the Alternate Healthy Eating Index.

Overall, people who scored in the top 20% of diet quality were one-third less likely to develop multiple early Parkinsons symptoms over 20 years, compared to people in the bottom 20%.

Lead author Samantha Molsberry, a postdoctoral research fellow, said in an August 20 U.S. News & World Report article that while the new findings do not prove that diet affects Parkinsons disease risk, there is reason to believe that eating healthy may be protective by lowering inflammation in the body. And there is no downside to this eating pattern, she said. I think this is one more reason to encourage people to eat a healthy diet.

Recommended Reading: Insomnia And Parkinson’s Disease

Diet And Exercise May Play Key Roles

Parkinson’s disease results from the death of dopamine-producing nerve cells within an area of the brain called the substantia nigra.

Since dopamine regulates movement, depletion of it results in motor symptoms like shaking, stiffness, and walking problems. Non-motor symptoms, like depression, sleep problems, and loss of smell, also commonly occur.

While there is no definitive way yet to prevent Parkinson’s disease, eating a “brain-healthy” diet and incorporating physical activity into your daily routine might help reduce the risk or delay symptom onset. This article reviews the potential roles of diet and exercise in PD prevention.

What Constitutes A Mind Diet

Another diet, known as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet was designed to help treat and prevent high blood pressure. The DASH diet emphasizes many of the same principles as the Mediterranean diet.

More recently, experts suggested a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH diet, meant to maximize cognitive benefits. It is entitled the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay or MIND diet. Past studies have investigated the cognitive benefits of this diet including one study which found that those who followed the MIND diet showed a slower decline in cognitive scores, and functioned cognitively as if they were 7.5 years younger than their counterparts who did not adhere to the diet.

The following constitutes the MIND diet:

  • Green, leafy vegetables

The following should be avoided in the MIND diet:

  • Red meat
  • Butter and stick margarine
  • Cheese

The principles of the MIND diet are very similar to the Mediterranean diet, with some notable additions. The MIND diet recommends green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale as the first choice over other vegetables. Berries are specifically promoted, as opposed to fruit in general. A small amount of red wine daily is also encouraged.

In the current study, each persons diet was calculated based on an extensive, validated, food-frequency questionnaire. The methods used in this study for scoring these questionnaires have been rigorously established.

Read Also: Voice Amplifier For Parkinson’s

Drawbacks To The Study

The study did not answer a number of other questions: Is there a benefit to the person with PD if the diets are only started once PD is already diagnosed? And if so, what elements of PD may improve? It seems likely that the diets would offer benefit even after symptoms are manifest, but this question is not answered directly in the current study.

Another aspect to note is that the study relies on people filling out questionnaires about what they eat. People may not be accurate in their accounting and may record a better diet than they actually ingest. However, this tendency to over-report good dietary habits should be equivalent for everyone in the study and may therefore not affect the results substantially.

Since these diets focus on healthy and nutritious foods, even though the study does not provide all of the answers, there is minimal risk, and considerable potential benefit to incorporating them into your life.

Foods And Fad Diets To Avoid With Parkinsons

Mediterranean diet: a study confirms its neuroprotective ...

While eating a Mediterranean diet can help with Parkinsons, you need to make sure you are also avoiding the foods and fad diets that are detrimental to your health and may exacerbate your Parkinsons symptoms.

Below is a list of some foods you should avoid eating or limit the amount you eat for Parkinsons:

  • Hard to chew foods

Read Also: Early Signs Of Parkinson’s Dementia

Tips For Getting Started

  • Changing your diet can be difficult. Try making one change at a time, like eating a handful of nuts a few times a week or avoiding white bread. Small changes can add up to big benefits.
  • Consult with a registered dietician, who can help you plan menus and make shopping lists for preparing nutritious meals that you like and that account for your individual needs and the timing of your medications.
  • Consult with an occupational therapist about assistive devices, including some mentioned above, to make eating and drinking easier.
  • If you experience anxiety or depression, talk to your doctor. These symptoms can suppress appetite.
  • If swallowing issues are causing problems eating , a speech-language pathologist may be able to help.

Diet & Parkinsons Disease

There are many research studies that show how healthy a Mediterranean diet can be for heart health, blood sugar levels, and even weight management. Additionally, there are numerous studies that suggest eating a Mediterranean diet can reduce your risk of neurodegenerative disease, including PD.1-3 A Mediterranean diet may help manage non-motor symptoms like constipation, and might play a positive role in memory function and reducing inflammation.

Also Check: Everything You Need To Know About Caregiving For Parkinson’s Disease

Mind Diet Delays Parkinsons Onset Research Shows

Later age at Parkinsons disease onset is associated with high adherence to the MIND diet and benefits women more than three times as much as it does men, a study has shown.

In contrast, adherence to the Greek Mediterranean diet significantly correlates with a later age of Parkinsons onset in men.

Based on these findings, people with Parkinsons are encouraged to eat a diet rich in fresh vegetables, whole grains, and healthy oils while limiting the intake of dairy, red meat, and sugary or processed foods.

These dietary habits should be promoted from an early age, as features of and other neurodegenerative disorders can manifest decades before official diagnosis, researchers wrote.

The study, MIND and Mediterranean Diets Associated with Later Onset of Parkinsons Disease, was published in the journal Movement Disorders.

The MIND diet is a combination of the Mediterranean diet, which includes foods common to the Mediterranean region, and the DASH diet. It is designed to prevent dementia and brain function and has been associated with a reduction in the incidence of Alzheimers disease by up to 54%.

The Mediterranean diet encourages the primary consumption of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, fish, seafood, and olive oil, with less emphasis on poultry and dairy products, and the exclusion of sugar-sweetened beverages, processed meat, refined grains and oils, and other highly processed foods.

Fad Diets To Avoid Or Be Skeptical Of:

Food, Water & Supplements: Does Nutrition Play a Role in Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms/Progression?

There are many fad diets out there that someone with Parkinsons should be skeptical of such as the Caveman diet, Carnivore diet, Whole30 diet and many more. While these new diets claim to be the best thing since sliced bread many of them are unsustainable and not healthy for you in the long run.

Something else to watch out for are diets specific for Parkinsons. Thats right, you are reading a Parkinsons diet blog warning you of the dangers of Parkinsons specific diets. We do this because there is a lot of small studies out their claiming a specific food or nutrient will help with your Parkinsons while the truth is there really isnt any strong evidence for any of it. Worse yet, some of these foods or nutrients when taken in excess quantities can do more harm than good. The only real evidence-based diets that are shown to be good for Parkinsons are general healthy diets that work for everyone regardless of Parkinsons. The Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest diets out there, which is why we recommend it to those with Parkinsons.

*In the past this blog has recommended specific healthy nutrients or foods for Parkinsons, we have since updated the blog to better reflect scientific consensus

Don’t Miss: Speech Therapy For Parkinson’s Disease

What The Study Found

The study, carried out by researchers from the University of British Columbia in Canada, included 167 participants with Parkinsons, with an average age of 64.9 years and an average time of disease onset of 6.5 years. The majority were men, and 119 healthy controls also were included as a comparison.

Over 12 months, the participants dietary habits, exercise habits, and total energy intake were measured. This allowed the researchers to analyze the relationship between adherence to the MIND diet and the age of Parkinsons onset, and compare the results to those who followed the Mediterranean diet alone.

Incidence And Progression Of Parkinsonism

Study Agarwal et al.

A study published in 2018 examined the relationship of dietary patterns with the incidence and progression of parkinsonism in older adults. 706 older adults participated in this study which involved annual assessments for the presence of four parkinsonian signs . Participants were followed for an average of 4.6 years. While it was the MIND diet that was significantly associated with lower rates of developing parkinsonism, and with slower progression of parkinsonian signs, researchers observed more moderate protective associations for the Mediterranean diet.

Read Also: Ozone Therapy For Parkinson’s Disease

Should A Dietician Be Part Of Your Standard Parkinsons Care

Yes, said Dr Bloem. I think paying attention to the gutis part of routine clinical care at every consultation for people withParkinsons. Parkinsons starts in the gut for many patients and slow bowelmovements are very common, impacting the efficacy of your medication andappetite for food. It needs attention.

While a Parkinsons doctor or nurse can offer usefuldietary advice, Dr Bloem himself recommends that his patients see a dieticianat least once. I think its part of standard care.

Watch the full webinar:

Mediterranean Diets Linked To Delayed Onset Of Parkinsons

Mediterranean Diet Might Lower Your Odds for Parkinson

Related tags:Research, ,

The study found a strong correlation between following the MIND and Mediterranean diets and the later onset of Parkinsons disease. While both diets have previously been associated with a neuroprotective effect for Alzheimers and dementia, this study is the first to look at the MIND diet in a cohort of people with Parkinsons Disease.

Its exciting to see that these diets are proving beneficial across multiple neurodegenerative diseases, as it suggests that these diseases may share common mechanisms that we may be able to influence through healthy eating, lead researcher Avril Metcalfe-Roach told NutraIngredients.

Analysing dietary data from 167 participants with Parkinsons, the researchers found that close adherence to the MIND diet coincided with later onset of the disease up to 17.4 years for women. In men, the Mediterranean diet was shown to have the most significant impact, delaying the onset of Parkinsons by up to 8.4 years.

The MediterraneanDASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay diet was published in 2015 in an attempt to refine the Mediterranean diet to minimise cognitive decline. The differences between the two diets are subtle: the MIND diet rewards leafy green, berry, and poultry intake while minimising the consumption of fried food and sweets. Milk, potato, and fruit intake are also discarded.

Don’t Miss: What Classes Of Drugs Are Used To Treat Parkinson’s Disease

Popular Articles
Related news