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Parkinson’s Disease: How Your Diet Plays a Role

Monday, 08 Nov 2010 01:04 PM

Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the central nervous system. It affects a person's speech, motor abilities, and is characterized by postural abnormalities, muscle rigidity, tremors, and slow physical movement. Even the loss of physical movement may take place in rare cases. Research has shown that following a healthy diet can help alleviate some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease because the body functions more efficiently, has more energy, and has strengthened immunity. When modifying your diet to treat Parkinson's Disease you should consider the following:

1. It is important to have a balanced diet, with food from every major food group including fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, meat, fish, and legumes.
2. Increase the intake of fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants, which reduce the presence of free radicals in the body. Antioxidant rich foods include dark-colored fruits and vegetables, and green and black tea.
3. Eat plenty of fish for a good dose of omega-3 fatty acids which are an essential nutrient. Fatty fish like mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon are good varieties to work into daily meals.
4. Maintain your body weight with the right mix of diet and exercise. Avoid eating food that is high in cholesterol and fat content.
5. Eat foods that are high in fiber: cereals, bran, rice, whole grain foods, pasta, and green leafy vegetables. This helps deal with the constipation and slow muscle movement of the intestines that can be a sign of Parkinson’s disease.
6. Patients should limit their sugar and salt intake.
7. Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated by having at least eight glasses of water each day.
8. Patients should avoid caffeine and alcohol consumption; this may interfere with medications and act as a diuretic.
9. You also need to get adequate sources of calcium, magnesium, and vitamins D and E. Try eating foods like cranberries, brown rice, parsley, and dairy products .
10. Avoid a high protein diet, since high protein foods may reduce the body's ability to absorb levodopa, which is used in the treatment of the disease.

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