Parkinson’s disease is a progressive and degenerative illness. It causes havoc with the area of the brain that controls movement. Noticeable symptoms include tremor and shaking, slow movement, balance difficulty and stiffening muscles. Some patients have speech problem. They may speak fast or slur or repeat words. Dementia is often seen in the later stages of the disorder. Although there is no cure, a healthy and balanced diet can help improve symptoms. According to researchers at the Oregon health and Science University, dietary restriction may make a significant difference in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease.
Constipation is often an aggravating symptom of Parkinson’s disease, so it it crucial for patients to maintain a high-fiber diet. The body cannot digest fiber, so it becomes a bulking agent that helps promote movement of the bowel. Foods high in fiber include bran, oatmeal, beans, broccoli, artichokes raspberries, pears and apples. Supplement this by drinking six to eight glasses of water every day.
Eating limited amounts of protein seems to increase mobility for Parkinson’s patients. According to the University of New Mexico Hospitals, patients who experience the mobility problems often associated with Parkinson’s disease should aim for a low-protein diet. They may choose to eat most of their protein at dinner, so that limited mobility happens at night. Or they can experiment with spreading the protein out evenly through the day. Large amounts of protein also can interfere with a Parkinson’s medication called levodopa. Patients should discuss with their doctor the interaction of protein with levodopa if they are on this medication.
Antioxidants are nutrients that help slow down or prevent damage to the body caused by oxygen. Eating a diet rich in antioxidants can be helpful for Parkinson’s patients. Foods high in antioxidants include berries, spinach carrots, tomatoes, pomegranate juice, and green and black tea.
Parkinson’s patients need to stay away from a high-fat diet. Italian scientists have discovered that people who stay with a strict Mediterranean diet are at less risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, as well as other disorders, such as Alzheimer’s heart disease and cancer. This type of low-fat diet relies on fruits and vegetables, olive oil, grains and fish. It is low in red meat and dairy products. Weight loss is a concern for Parkinson’s patients, and a low-fat diet can contribute to weight loss. If this happens, patients can get extra calories from complex carbohydrates and the good fats, such as olive oil.