Proper nutrition for Parkinson’s should take into account that the disease can lead to restrictions that can change eating and drinking behavior. It is important to create a balance with the right foods.
Diet in Parkinson’s has no direct influence on the course of the disease, but it can help to maintain well-being for longer. This is especially true if the symptoms increase as the disease progresses and eating and drinking behavior changes. With a good nutrition plan, patients can take targeted countermeasures – if necessary in consultation with a dietician.
What are the basics of a good Parkinson’s diet?
In Parkinson’s, nutrition should follow the same maxims as in healthy people, i.e. lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grain cereal products, dairy products, fish once or twice a week, and, according to the German Society for Nutrition for adults no more than 600 grams of meat and sausages per week. Vegetable fats are generally preferable to animal fats.
What should Parkinson’s patients pay particular attention to when it comes to nutrition?
Movement disorders and damage to the nerve cells mean that Parkinson’s patients tend to be constipated. The medication can also cause the stomach and intestines to work more slowly. A light, high-fiber diet is therefore very important. Every meal should therefore contain vegetables, fruit, whole grain products, legumes, or potatoes. Because the sense of taste often decreases, it makes sense to season the food more intensively with herbs to avoid excessive salt consumption. Also important:
- No medication with food: The most important Parkinson’s drug, L-Dopa, uses the same transport route in the intestine as protein. To ensure that the active ingredient can be utilized well, there should be at least half an hour between a meal containing protein and taking the medication.
- Do not combine medication and fruit: The ingredients in some types of fruit, such as grapefruit, can also make it difficult to take medication. Here, too, a time interval should be observed.
- Regulate fluid intake: Adequate fluid intake of 1.5 liters to two liters per day is also part of the diet for Parkinson’s disease. Together with fiber, this helps to prevent constipation.
What tips apply when eating in the Parkinson’s diet?
When it comes to Parkinson’s disease and nutrition, there are also a few tips to keep in mind when eating to make eating and digestion easier:
- prefer to eat small portions more often
- sit up straight
- Take your time and chew each bite thoroughly
- Make sure the food is not too hot or too cold
- drink enough to eat
If swallowing problems occur, the consistency of the food, in particular, is changed (e.g. pureed). These and other aspects should be discussed in detail with dietitians for good nutrition for Parkinson’s disease.