Diet and Parkinson’s
habits make a big difference in quality of life for people with Parkinson’s.
Eating-related symptoms often crop up. For example, difficulties with
swallowing. Also, problems with constipation as a result of slow muscle
response. And problematic food–drug interactions. On the plus side, some foods
can reduce the free radicals common in Parkinson’s.
some tips to discuss with your loved one.
- Constipation. In the
morning, a glass of warm fluids such as hot water, tea, or warmed prune juice
helps kick-start the bowels. A high-fiber diet and 6–8 ounces of fluid per day
is a natural remedy. High-fiber foods include vegetables, legumes, and whole
grains. Also fruits with the peel left on. There are prescription medicines
that can help. And certainly, exercise helps all aspects of Parkinson’s.
or choking can be relieved by sitting upright at a 90° angle while eating and
“tucking the chin” down toward the neck when swallowing. Also try
drinking from a wide-rim glass or cup. Taking smaller bites and chewing
thoroughly can help. (Plan for longer meal times. Also, smaller, more-frequent
meals.) Talk with a speech therapist or dietitian about other solutions.
issues. A key
Parkinson’s drug, carbidopa/levodopa, works best when taken in the absence of
protein-rich foods. Ideally, about an hour before or two hours after meals.
This timing can be challenging. Other Parkinson’s drugs may conflict with
certain foods and minerals or cause dehydration. Consult with your loved one’s
doctor and ask for a session with a dietitian or nurse to create a workable
- Antioxidants. Your
relative with Parkinson’s has more free radicals than their same-age peers do.
Antioxidant foods help mop up these toxic elements. The best foods are deeply
colored fruits and vegetables. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and red
or purple grapes. Red cabbage, spinach, kale, and sweet potatoes.
Are you caring for a person with Parkinson’s?
As the Metro DC experts in family caregiving, we at Debra Levy Eldercare Associates understand how this condition affects all facets of daily life. Let us help you through the process. Give us a call at 301-593-5285. Let’s start the conversation.