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What Affects The Food Habits Of A Patient Suffering From Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease can be defined as the continuous deterioration of the body’s central nervous system over time which adversely affects the motor system of the body. With the passage of time, the symptoms only grow in intensity as the person slowly becomes weaker. What Parkinson’s disease does is to reduce the brain’s ability to produce dopamine which leads to rigidity, tremors, change in bearing & speech pattern.

To counter this, a healthy & well-balanced diet containing an ample amount of fruits, vegetables & fiber-rich food along with drinking lots of fluids should be followed. This type of diet will not only better the general condition of a person suffering from Parkinson’s disease by providing energy & keeping the patient hydrated but will also keep the low blood pressure & constipation in check. The diet regime is also affected by the medication. The medication can be made more effective by selecting proper timing & composition of the meals & there are certain foods that must be avoided in order to prevent any side effects.

What Affects The Food Habits Of A Patient Suffering From Parkinson’s Disease?

What Affects The Food Habits Of A Patient Suffering From Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease medicine should be taken half an hour before & an hour post consumption of food as it will aid the small intestine in faster absorption. However, for averting any case of nausea, a carbohydrate refreshment (toast, oatmeal, & cracker) needs to be taken with the medicine. There is no dietary modification required for the ropinirole & pramipexole. Those who have taken selegiline or rasagiline must take caution & moderate their diet but should not do away with meals that contain a huge amount of tyramine. As MAO-B inhibitors boost tyramine levels & in conjunction with the certain could increase the B.P. Here is a list of food to avoid:

  • Kimchi, sauerkraut
  • Camembert, aged cheddar or blue, swiss cheeses,
  • Soybeans & soy sauce
  • Fermented, cured, fish or meats
  • Tap beer & Red wine

Also, iron supplements should be taken at least 2 hours after medication as it lowers the absorption of levodopa. (1) (2)

Necessary Dietary Changes For Parkinson’s Patients

Parkinson affected people frequently suffer from constipation which can be managed through high intakes of fluids & fiber. Consuming warm fluids at the start of the day can improve bowel movement. Some of the well-known sources of fiber are fruits with peel, legumes, vegetables, cereals. Most of them are rich in antioxidants too.

Parkinson’s disease & some of its medication can lead to low BP. Increasing fluid & salt intake can improve BP but the patient, especially with heart & kidney condition must consult the physician before doing so. Drinking cold liquids such as Gatorade, water, V8 juice five 8 ounces glasses every half a day can be helpful. Coffee, alcohol & hot liquids must be avoided as they cause dehydration. Having small meals throughout the day can prevent blood pressure fluctuation.

Swallowing issues can materialize in the form of coughing, choking & sensation of ‘something stuck’ in the throat. In this regard, a speech therapist can recommend a suitable, personalized diet plan & strategy. Using correct postures during mealtimes, slower speed & a longer duration for meals can also be part of the recovery process.

Muscle cramping is a symptom of Parkinson’s disease & usually strike at night when the medicine wears off. Consuming turmeric found in yellow mustard & tonic water which has the quinine can be useful in this case to prevent cramping. Salt, vinegar & pickle juice are also advised by some. Maintaining the hydration level can limit cramping.

Fava beans are a popular choice for diet as it contains levodopa & not much scientific research has been done in this area. There is no special food to be ingested for Parkinson’s disease but fruits such as berries, vegetables such as kale should be included in the diet. (3) (4)


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:December 2, 2019

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