Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disease that affects an individual as one starts aging. It has no one particular reason to occur, nor does it have a set of defined symptoms, that alerts a potential patient. Parkinson’s disease mainly is a neurodegenerative disorder that predominantly affects the dopamine-producing neurons, thereby affecting an individual’s central nervous system.
It mainly is a disorder that is marked with age and cannot be cured but can be treated. As the disease progresses, the patient begins to progressively lose their motor skills thereby impeding movement. Moreover, later stages of the disease lead to other neurological concerns, mainly due to the lack of dopamine secretion the brain begins to produce; this includes chemical imbalances, depression, drastic mood swings, irritability, etc.
While there is no such set diet, a Parkinson’s disease patient should consume a well-rounded nutrition plan, primarily taking into consideration all food groups that occur in the Food Pyramid. A well-balanced diet is important for a PD patient as, it helps the patient’s bodywork and function more effectively, increases the impact of ongoing medication and delays the further deterioration of health. Proper diets enable the body to work more efficiently, thus providing more energy, thereby making the medication more enabling.
This article highlights the steps that can be taken by one to make a Parkinson’s patient’s medication more resourceful. To maintain good health, a person living with Parkinson’s disease should include a variety of grains, legumes, nuts in their diet as they provide natural oils, good fat, and energy. Additionally, one can consider adding dairy and milk products, along with protein-rich foods. Eggs, Fish, Meat, Beans all provide beneficial fats to the body.
Diet Dos for Parkinson’s disease:
The first thing a Parkinson’s disease patient should consider while opting for a diet plan is to see that the diet incorporates all food groups. The diet should include several grain products, for example, lentils, dals, bajra, ragi, etc. Since the average Indian household is highly dependent on grain products, creating and altering regular meals to accommodate the needs of a PD patient is fairly easy.
Since Parkinson’s affects the individual’s nervous system, vitamins and minerals are an important component for any patient, as it provides the body with strength to beat additional bacteria. Hence, it is important to include fruits and vegetables in the diet of a Parkinson’s disease patient. A good source of vitamins and minerals is green leafy veggies like palak (blanched spinach), methi (fenugreek).
Furthermore, it is a good idea to encourage the intake of complex carbohydrates and fiber-rich foods into the diets of a PD patient. Complex carbs include pasta, bread, vermicelli, etc. Fiber and carbohydrate-rich foods help reduce the intake of fats.
It is also a good idea to include foods that are high in antioxidants. Antioxidants help cells fight the effects of molecules produced while the body is exposed to unwanted elements of the environment thus have anti-inflammatory effects on the brain. Foods rich in antioxidants are usually brightly colored or dark. For example, jamuns, strawberries, blueberries, bananas are all rich in antioxidants. One can also opt for green and herbal teas, green coffee and natural fruit juices.
Another great tip to stock up on antioxidants is to snack on cashew nuts, walnuts, almonds, flax seeds, etc. as they promote brain health. Last but not the least, like any diet, it is important to ensure that the patient has sufficient water intake. The patient must consume a minimum of 8 glasses of water, as water helps refresh the hormones throughout the body and flushes out toxins.
Diet Don’ts for Parkinson’s disease:
As mentioned earlier, there is no specific diet for a Parkinson’s disease patient, the only goal concerning food intake of the patient is to ensure that the food ingested is not further draining the body and making it lethargic. Being a Parkinson’s patient, one has to ensure the following things:
First and foremost, avoid switching diets, and trying fad diets that lure the reader with promises of superfoods, etc. to enhance brain activity. The best diet is regular, freshly prepared home food.
Secondly, it is imperative to limit one’s sugar and sodium intake. Avoid sugary drinks and canned fruits, they have excess sugar and are unnecessarily rich in calories. Additionally, it is recommended to keep sodium levels in check for a Parkinson’s disease patient, therefore keeping a check on the amount of salt intake is a good idea.
Last but not the least; ensure control over alcohol consumption as it can interfere with certain medications.
Parkinson’s disease Diet
Anyone suffering from Parkinson’s disease more or less can go on with their regular life and eating habits; a regular home-cooked balanced diet with a few alterations is the answer to ensuring maximum output out of the suggested medications. Apart from improving food habits, it is a good idea to encourage the patient to maintain a healthy weight by choosing a physical activity to balance their diet.
The main idea of a diet for a PD patient is to slow the effects of Parkinson’s disease on the body and is in no way meant to hinder one’s daily life. Good food, diet, and exercise become a crucial part as it directly impacts the brain. Proper diet and exercise promotes the release of hormones such as dopamine, oxytocin, and sends the brain fresh blood; all this helps increase brain functioning and activity.
Since Parkinson’s disease impacts the nervous system and the brain, the small changes that a few dietary changes can bring into a patient’s life is very helpful; it is imperative that a patient suffering from Parkinson’s disease maintains a healthy, well-balanced diet, and incorporates moderate exercises into their routine. These moderate exercises should ideally begin from the onset of the diagnosis as it makes adapting to the disease easier. Muscle rigidity gradually increases as the severity of PD increases, thus early on exercise, as recommended for any individual is always going to be a blessing. Light stretching, regular walks, and being generally active, even if it is around one’s house is the best way to start. Furthermore, today with various assistive tools available to make one’s house more friendly to Parkinson’s patients, one can easily adapt and put these positive changes into their life.
Therefore, dealing with Parkinson’s disease is much easier when you follow an adequate diet and health tips. Apart from the medication and therapies, personal care helps treat the symptoms and have a better lifestyle.