Press Release

Nutrition Tips for Parkinson's disease

April 15th, 2019
Healthy food and a stethescope

Healthy eating is essential to the quality of life of someone with Parkinson’s disease. PD medications may decrease appetite, causing those with the condition to eat less. In addition, involuntary muscle movements can lead to increased energy expenditure. As a result, many people with Parkinson’s are underweight, due to the increase in calories burned.

Here, the physicians and registered dietitians from St. Charles Hospital's Parkinson's disease Center offer 5 tips for maintaining a proper diet:

1. Eat a well balanced diet with an emphasis on whole fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, lean meats, poultry, seafood, and low fat dairy. Minimize saturated fat intake from red meats and processed meats. Minimize added sugar intake and refined carbohydrate intake such as breads, rolls, etc. Make at least half of your grains whole. Limit sodium intake from processed foods.

2. Combat constipation, which is commonly see in Parkinson’s patients, with high fiber foods, proper hyrdration and exercise. Foods high in fiber include fruits and vegetables, whole grain bread, nuts, seeds, bran muffins, and prunes. Drink plenty of water to hydrate with high fiber intake. Exercise can ease constipation. If symptoms are not improving with diet, hydration and exercise, consult your doctor.

3. Drink fluids throughout the day to prevent dehydration and constipation. Drink water before you feel thirsty and aim for at least 8, 1 cup glasses each day as a rule of thumb. Recognize the symptoms of dehydration, such as dry mouth, lips, and skin, nausea, headache, muscle cramps, lightheadedness, and dark urine.

4. Maintain bone health, as those living with PD are prone to osteoporosis, due to older age, low activity levels, low body weight, limited exposure to sunlight and inadequate vitamin D intake. Maintain adequate calcium and Vitamin D intake to protect bone health. Individuals over the age of 50 should take a supplement of 1500 mg calcium and 800 IU Vitamin D daily. Low fat dairy, oily fish like salmon and tuna, dark leafy green vegetables, soy beans, and white beans are great sources of calcium and vitamin D.

5. Be aware of medication interactions. Dietary protein can interfere with the uptake of some particular medicine into the body. Take such medications with carbohydrates (grains, toast, oatmeal) to prevent nausea and take medicine 30-­‐60 minutes before protein intake (such as eggs, chicken, pork, meat, dairy). DO NOT limit protein intake, as this can lower calorie intake, deplete muscle stores and decrease immunity.

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