United Methodist

Your Diet and Parkinson’s Disease

What Parkinson’s means for your diet

Parkinson’s disease is typically seen in people aged 50 or older, though some can exhibit symptoms as early as 40 years old. Some common symptoms of Parkinson’s include shaking, stiffness, slow movements, and damage to the brain as time goes by. While there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease, if you’ve recently been diagnosed and are searching for ways to manage your symptoms, there is a strong link between diet modifications and the ability to better control Parkinson’s symptoms. This connection has become a critical area of research because Parkinson’s disease is one of older adults’ most common degenerative neurological conditions. In this blog, we’ll discuss some of that research’s current findings.

Prioritizing all aspects of your health 

If you’ve been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, your doctor probably recommended staying as healthy and strong as possible. Prioritizing all aspects of your health means making changes to your lifestyle and your diet that can help ease your symptoms and slow the progression of your condition. Some top tips to improve your overall health include:

  • Limit your sugar intake. Processed foods and soft drinks are high in refined sugars, which are bad for your overall health. 
  • Incorporate grains, fruits, and vegetables into your diet. These foods provide your body with essential fiber, minerals, vitamins, and complex carbohydrates. 
  • Avoid trendy or fad diets. Consistency and stability are essential when figuring out the best Parkinson’s diet for you, and fad diets often eliminate entire food groups.
  • Incorporate foods that are high in antioxidants into your diet. These include foods like brightly colored fruits, dark fruits, and vegetables. 
  • Limit your salt and sodium intake and have your blood pressure checked regularly. 

Easing symptoms & optimizing medications

Managing side effects of any medications you are taking can also be done in conjunction with diet modifications to ease your Parkinson’s symptoms. Your doctor will work with you to develop a nutrition plan that promotes healthy digestion, bone strength, and overall health. Generally, this nutrition plan will include the following:

  • Ensure you’re sufficiently hydrated by drinking six glasses of water a day, and eating foods with a high water content, like celery, strawberries, watermelon, and butternut squash. 
  • Consume foods that are high in fiber, like brown rice, beans, fruit, and whole grains.
  • Reduce your alcohol and caffeine intake, because these can interfere with your established sleeping pattern. 
  • Add healthy snacks like cashews and walnuts to your diet.

It’s also important to follow the directions for taking your medication, such as taking it on an empty stomach, taking it with a glass of water, or taking it just after eating a meal. People with Parkinson’s disease can sometimes have difficulty swallowing and may sometimes feel nauseated as a result of their medications. If this happens, please speak with your doctor as soon as possible to minimize the effects on your overall health. 

If you’ve been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and would like more information on how to best modify your diet to manage your symptoms, or if you have any questions about long term care in one of our NJ senior living communities, contact our team at UMC today. You can also visit our website at:

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