Monday, March 4, 2024

What Foods Are Good For Parkinson’s Disease

Dietitians Speech Pathologists And Mental Health Experts Can Help Too

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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.

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
  • tiredness

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.

Diet And Parkinson’s Medications

You should always discuss with your doctor, or Parkinsons nurse if you have one, when to take your medications. Most medications can be taken at any time and do not need to be specially timed in relation to meals. You may find sipping a drink makes it easier to swallow your tablets but avoid milk, a protein, when taking levodopa.

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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.

Some limited research does show that ketogenic, low-protein diets were beneficial for some with Parkinsons. Other research finds high saturated fat intake worsened risk.

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.

Nutrition In Parkinson’s Disease

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Parkinsons disease is a condition where our brain does not produce enough dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical that regulates our bodily movements and without it, we will have difficulty controlling our arm, leg, and speech muscles. Thats why the main symptoms of Parkinsons are tremor, rigidity and slowness of movement.

However, Parkinsons doesnt only affect movement. People living with Parkinsons can experience a range symptoms such as depression, constipation, and pain that can have a greater impact on their lives.

Most people diagnosed with Parkinsons disease are above 50 years old, but younger people can develop it too. In Singapore, there are currently around 8000 people with Parkinsons disease, and with our ageing population, the numbers are going up. Parkinsons disease progresses over time and its difficult to predict how quickly this happens. For some, it can take more than 15 years for the condition to reach a point where causes major problems. But for others, it may progress more quickly.

Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for Parkinsons disease. With treatment and medication, symptoms can be managed, but they become less effective over time. Everyone affected by this disease experiences a different combination of symptoms so no two people will follow the exact same medication routine. Parkinsons is also unique in that it can affect someone differently every day. Symptoms that may be noticeable today may not be a problem the next day.

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Shopping And Preparing Meals

Careful planning can make shopping and preparing meals far easier. Keep a good range of foods in your cupboard and freezer that have a long shelf life as these are always a good back up if you are unable to shop as planned.

  • Plan meals in advance and write a list of the ingredients before going to the shops, or ask someone to buy ingredients for you.
  • Think about how long you can stand preparing your meal and dont decide on a menu that will take longer to prepare than you can cope with.
  • If taking the trouble to cook a meal that can be frozen for other days then remember to double or treble the quantity so that you have a few quick and easy meals another time.
  • Make use of ready prepared meals as they can be simply reheated and can save on electricity or gas as well as your own energy. Remember that frozen and tinned vegetables and fruit can be just as nutritious as fresh.
  • If you like a sleep during the day, take a flask with you so you can have a hot drink when you wake up without going to the kitchen.
  • If you do not own a microwave consider buying a small one as meals or snacks can be very simply and quickly cooked or reheated this way.

Maintaining A Nutritious Diet For Parkinsons Disease

While you already know that proper nutrition is important for overall health and functioning, a well-maintained and balanced diet for Parkinsons disease is a must in order to help manage symptoms. In addition to motor symptoms, people with PD may develop symptoms that make it hard to eat, such as difficulty swallowing, excessive salivation, and reduced gastric mobility. Medications used to treat PD can also cause unfavorable symptoms, such as nausea, dry mouth, appetite loss, vomiting, and fatigue.

Ideally, people with PD should increase their fiber intake to avoid symptoms such as dehydration and constipation, while boosting their energy levels. Maintaining a balanced diet for Parkinsons disease that includes foods from all food groups including vegetables, fruit, grains, dairy, and grains is key. It is also important for individuals with PD to drink plenty of water at least 51 ounces a day. In addition to loading up on fiber-rich foods like apples, broccoli, peas, whole-grain breads, and cereals, PD sufferers should cut down on salt, sugar, and saturated fats from dairy and meat. If you drink alcohol, ask your doctor about how it could affect the effectiveness of your medications.

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Avoid Protein When Taking Levodopa

Levodopa is the most common drug for Parkinsons disease. Its essentially a protein that gets transferred into dopamine in the body. Dopamine is a brain chemical thats not at sufficient levels in the brains of people with Parkinsons. More dopamine can decrease symptoms of the disease. However, since Levodopa is a protein, patients should avoid eating too much protein in their food as this can prevent the drugs absorption.

Bump Up Your Fiber Intake

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A high-fiber diet is a proven way to avoid constipation, a common problem for people with PD.

Parkinsons can slow down the intestines and cause constipation, Dr. Gostkowski says. Fiber helps keep things moving. There are plenty of high-fiber foods out there, so choose your favorites. Women should aim for 25 grams of fiber per day, and men should get 38 grams.

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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.

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.

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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
  • Soup
  • 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.

Introduction To Eating Right With Parkinson’s Disease

Nutritional Management of Parkinson

While there is no special diet required for people with Parkinson’s disease, eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet is extremely beneficial. With the proper diet, our bodies work more efficiently, we have more energy, and Parkinson’s disease medications will work properly.

This article addresses the basics of good nutrition. Please consult your doctor or dietitian before making any dietary changes. A registered dietitian can provide in-depth nutrition education, tailor these general guidelines to meet your needs, and help you create and follow a personal meal plan.

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The Results: Is Keto More Effective For Parkinsons Disease Treatment

As a result of the 8-week dietary protocols, both diets were found to be safe, and both groups experienced significant improvements in motor and nonmotor symptoms. This is great news for any patient who is struggling with Parkinsons disease.

The most promising results, however, are found when we examine the statistical variations between each group.

The most striking difference was that the keto diet group showed substantially better improvements in the nonmotor symptoms of Parkinsons disease . Every single patient who completed the 8-week keto diet protocol experienced equally significant benefits.

More specifically, the symptoms that improved most after keto dieting were urinary problems, pain and other unpleasant sensations, fatigue, daytime sleepiness, and cognitive impairment. These findings are particularly profound because nonmotor symptoms ultimately represent the most disabling aspect of Parkinsons disease.

Furthermore, these specific symptoms are among those least responsive to ldopa . Altogether, this indicates the combining keto with drug therapy can help treat Parkinsons disease and its symptoms from multiple angles.

Another important finding from this study is that the keto diet provoked an intermittent exacerbation of the Parkinsons disease tremor and/or rigidity in some patients, which resulted in 2 subjects dropping out of the study after week 1. This adverse effect, however, was improved or resolved in many patients in weeks 5 to 8.

So What Does Nutrition Have To Do With Parkinsons

1. The neurotransmitter dopamine is made in the body from amino acids which are the building blocks of protein. Every time we eat a protein rich food we take in protein, which the body breaks down into its component amino acids. Two amino acids are converted in the body into L-Dopa, which is then converted into dopamine in the brain.

2. Nutrient co-factors are required for each stage of this conversion process, so deficiencies of these may reduce dopamine production.

3. L-dopa medication competes for absorption with dietary amino acids, therefore the timing of taking L-dopa and the eating of protein needs to be managed for optimal absorption and effectiveness of the drug and the reduction of side-effects.

Therefore, the nutritional therapy approach to Parkinsons includes:

1. Supporting dopamine production by ensuring adequate precursors and co-factors

2. Considering drug-nutrient interactions to enhance effectiveness and reduce side-effects

3. Optimising nutritional status and addressing co-morbidities . These co-morbidities include constipation, depression, fatigue, and insomnia.

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How Does Fibre Help

Fibre absorbs fluid as it moves through your bowel, forming a soft stool that can be passed more easily.

It is very important to increase your fluid intake if you increase the fibre in your diet, because too much fibre without enough fluid can increase constipation.

A dietitian can give you more information and advice.

How can I increase my fibre intake?

Fibre is found in cereals, seeds, nuts, fruit, vegetables and pulses, such as peas, beans and lentils. To increase your fibre intake you can try:

  • eating high-fibre varieties of foods, such as wholemeal bread, pasta or brown rice
  • altering recipes to use some wholemeal flour instead of all white flour
  • choosing a breakfast cereal containing wheat, wheatbran or oats, such as Weetabix, porridge or bran flakes
  • eating more vegetables. They can be raw or cooked, fresh or frozen. Try using more peas, beans or lentils
  • eating more fruit. It can be fresh, stewed, tinned or dried. Try bananas, oranges or prunes
  • gradually introducing ground linseeds. You can add 1 teaspoon to cereals, salads or yoghurts to start with and increase this over time to 1 tablespoon. If you do this, make sure you drink an extra glass of fluid a day, otherwise it wont work and may make constipation worse

When increasing your intake of fibre, it is important to do so gradually to avoid bloating or flatulence . Aim to introduce 1 new high-fibre food every 3 days.

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Who Can Give Me Advice On Diet And Eating Problems

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Depending on the country you live in your doctor may be able to refer you to any of the following specialists to give advice on diet or eating problems.

  • A dietitian can provide advice on all aspects of nutrition and diet. They will advise on maintaining a healthy diet to suit your needs and symptoms, bearing in mind the medications you take
  • A speech and languagetherapist will be able to help you with swallowing problems and strategies to overcome these, as well as speech difficulties. They can also help eliminate any other possible causes of swallowing problems
  • An occupational therapist will be able to look at ideas and equipment to make food preparation and mealtimes easier .Simple changes to your kitchen and dining area can make all the difference, for example:
  • adding grab rails to help you move around safely
  • moving the position of equipment so that food preparation tools are grouped together so you dont need to move around as much
  • buying a blender, microwave or small chopper, for example, to ease preparation and reduce the amount of time spent manually preparing food.

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I Am Overweight What Can I Do

It’s easy to gain weight if you become less active but are eating the same amount of food.

If you are trying to lose weight, here are some tips to start with:

  • Don’t eat fried food regularly grill, dry fry, microwave, bake, steam, poach or boil, without adding fat or oils. Instead, use marinades, adding extra herbs, stock and spices for flavour.
  • Use skimmed or semi-skimmed milk instead of full fat.
  • Try eating healthier snacks like diet yoghurts, nuts, fruit, crumpets or teacakes.
  • Have sugar-free, no added sugar or low-calorie drinks and use artificial sweetener instead of sugar.

If you have other health conditions as well as Parkinsons, such as circulation problems, high cholesterol, heart disease or diabetes, and are concerned about being overweight, speak to your GP, specialist, Parkinsons nurse or ask to see a registered dietitian.

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