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Nutrition and Parkinson's Disease
There is no special diet for people with Parkinson's disease. The nutritional goals include:
- Eat well-balanced meals.
- Consume adequate calories to maintain body weight within a normal range.
- Minimize food and drug interactions.
- If chewing, choking or excessive coughing becomes a problem, provide food consistency easily tolerated.
- Feeding may become difficult and a referral to an occupational therapist may be necessary for adaptive eating utensils.
Eat Well-Balanced Meals
Eat a variety of foods. Include foods rich in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, bran, cereals, rice and pasta. Limit intake of salt, sugar and foods high in saturated fats and cholesterol. Drink eight cups of water per day. Balance exercise and food in order to maintain your weight within a healthy range. Ask your doctor if alcohol will interfere with any of your medications.
Medication and Food Interactions
Medication used to treat Parkinson's disease may cause nausea. Let your doctor know if nausea is a problem. There are several ways to control nausea, including:
- Drink clear liquids, such as water, broth, fruit juices without pulp (apple juice, grape juice or cranberry juice), Clear sodas, sports drinks and plain gelatin.
- Avoid juices with pulp and orange and grapefruit juices.
- Eat and drink slowly.
- Beverages should be consumed between meals, not with the meal.
- Choose bland foods such as saltine crackers. Avoid greasy and fried foods.
- Eat smaller meals, more frequently throughout the day.
- Foods should be eaten cold or at room temperature.
- After eating keep your head elevated and avoid brushing your teeth.
Malnutrition may become a problem for a person diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. This could be related to depression, nausea, difficulty feeding, problems with swallowing, chewing, coughing and/or a loss of interest in food.
Patients who experience swallowing difficulties should consult a physician. The doctor may recommend a swallow study to determine the food consistency best tolerated. If feeding becomes difficult, a referral to an occupational therapist may be necessary for adaptive eating utensils.
The Parkinson's Disease Foundation (PDF) is a leading national presence in Parkinsons disease research, education and public advocacy. PDF is working for the nearly one million people in the US who live with Parkinsons by funding promising scientific research and supporting people with Parkinsons, their families and caregivers through educational programs and support services. Since its founding in 1957, PDF has funded over $85 million worth of scientific research in Parkinsons disease, supporting the work of leading scientists throughout the world.
Click the following links to learn more about Parkinson's Awareness Month and World Parkinson's Disease Day.