About Parkinson's Disease

About Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's Disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that occurs when the brain cells responsible for producing the chemical messenger dopamine slowly die. Dopamine is necessary for proper brain signaling and controls muscle movement. As the disease progresses, symptoms such as shaking (tremors), lack of coordination, difficulty swallowing, constipation, loss of balance, and hindered movement become worse. The cause of Parkinson’s is unknown, however, genetics, toxins, oxidative stress, pre-existing medical conditions, and certain medications are believed to be factors.

While there is no cure, there are lifestyle and dietary choices that may make living with Parkinson's a bit easier. In general, a low protein, high carbohydrate diet is recommended. NutriBlasts are a great way to consume more of these high-fiber, phytonutrient-rich foods.

Suggestions for those living with Parkinson's:

1) Coordinate meals/snacks with medications

Levodopa, the commonly prescribed Parkinson's medication is best taken on an empty stomach at least 30 minutes before or one hour after a meal.

2) Choose a low-protein diet. A diet high in protein could interfere with the effectiveness of levodopa. It is suggested to consume the bulk of your daily protein closer to the evening due to this interaction. Aim for a 3:1 - 5:1 ratio of carbs to protein.

3) Eat foods high in fiber. Fiber helps alleviate constipation that may result from reduction in gut peristalsis or medications. In addition, fiber may improve the bioavailability of levodopa.

4) Exercise has been shown to improve symptoms and will help maintain balance and mobility.

5) Prevent rapid weight loss.

Depression, excessive calorie expenditure because of tremors, the inability to self-feed, chewing or swallowing problems, or other symptoms may prohibit adequate calorie intake. Restriction of protein intake along with gastrointestinal changes, such as delayed stomach emptying, may necessitate small frequent meals in order to consume plenty of calories.

6) Use NutriBlasts in various consistencies when chewing or swallowing become difficult.

7) Choose foods rich in vitamin K, calcium, and magnesium for bone health. This will help prevent fractures in case of falls when coordination and balance decline.

8) Choose supplements and herbs wisely. Speak with your physician about various supplements that may be helpful. Some may include vitamin D, Coenzyme Q10, creatine, vitamin C and vitamin E, coffee/caffeine, or ginkgo biloba.

9) Consider alternative methods that help increase blood flow, improve motor skills and balance, emotional well-being, and possibly symptoms.

  • Massage
  • Mind-body therapies
  • Movement therapies
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and acupuncture
Registered Dietitian

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