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.

Here are
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.
  • Swallowing
    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.
  • Medication-related
    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.