Foods to manage Parkinson’s disease
Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder that becomes worse over time. The most common symptoms of the disease may include tremors, slowed movement, impaired posture and balance, and speech changes. There’s no cure for Parkinson’s yet, and no specific meal plan has been prescribed for the disease. However, it’s well known that eating certain foods can help manage a variety of symptoms and improve overall well-being. This article looks at foods that help with Parkinson’s.
All berries, be it strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, goji berries, cranberries, or elderberries, can be beneficial for those with Parkinson’s disease. These little fruits are loaded with antioxidants and other nutrients that can boost brain function and prevent age-related cognitive decline. Also, berries are small and squishy, and they are easy to consume for those with chewing and swallowing difficulties. These fruits taste delicious and can be enjoyed alone.
Nuts are a storehouse of antioxidants and many vital vitamins and minerals. When it comes to managing Parkinson’s, walnuts must be the go-to choice. That’s because nutrients in walnuts can slow or reduce the aging process of the brain and enhance learning, memory, and motor coordination. Macadamia nuts are another good option, as the oils found in them can boost the production of neurotransmitters, improving Parkinson’s symptoms.
Constipation is one of the common symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. When dealing with constipation, ensure to feast on a bowl of oatmeal every day. Its high-fiber content can quickly ease constipation. Plus, oatmeals are also rich in phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, and iron, which help improve overall health and manage the disease.
Oily fish or fatty fish are packed with omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats can help reduce nerve inflammation, improve neurotransmission, and slow neurodegeneration. In other words, it can bolster brain health and reduce cognitive decline. Some fatty fish with the highest levels of omega-3s include salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines. Salmon, in particular, also contain high levels of vitamin B12, which can offer protection against brain diseases.
Broccoli is one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables. It’s not only rich in antioxidants, but is also an excellent source of magnesium, vitamin C, fiber, calcium, and iron. Magnesium has been shown to relax muscles and alleviate certain Parkinson’s symptoms, such as tremors, spasms, irregular heartbeat, insomnia, and more. Additionally, eating broccoli frequently can also improve overall health and help deal with the disease.
Waning appetite is another common symptom of Parkinson’s. In such situations, a cup of Greek yogurt can be helpful. It’s full of proteins and other vital nutrients and also provides lots of calories. Moreover, it’s a good source of probiotics, which are beneficial gut bacteria that keep digestive health in check. Greek yogurt can be enjoyed alone or combined with antioxidant-rich fruits like berries and walnuts.
Carrots have long been touted as a superfood for the eyes. But it’s also crucial for improving brain function, thanks to a compound called luteolin. This compound can lower inflammation in the brain and prevent the worsening of age-related memory decline. People who don’t like carrots can try other good sources of luteolin, such as olive oil, celery, and peppers.
Parkinson’s patients, including seniors, can feast on dark chocolate occasionally. The cocoa in this type of chocolate contains phenylethylamine, a compound that helps increase dopamine production. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter whose deficiency has been linked to causing Parkinson’s disease. Additionally, dark chocolates are full of flavonoids and other antioxidants that help reduce the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease.
Many people believe that fava beans can help treat Parkinson’s disease. That’s mainly because they contain levodopa, an ingredient also found in medications prescribed for the treatment of Parkinson’s. A few studies show that fava beans can help improve motor performance, but research regarding whether this food can effectively treat the disease is ongoing. Though fava beans may be a great option for some people, they are not an alternative to prescription treatments.
Eating healthy may not be enough to reduce various discomforts associated with Parkinson’s disease. So, doctors may also prescribe medications.
Medication for Parkinson’s management
The following medicines might help control Parkinson’s disease symptoms:
Ongentys (opicapone) is a catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitor. It helps prevent the breakdown of levodopa, which in turn increases dopamine levels in the brain. It’s an oral medication that is usually taken once daily.
Rytary contains two active ingredients: levodopa and carbidopa. This combination medication is commonly prescribed for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Rytary comes in the form of a capsule and is usually taken multiple times a day.
Mirapex (Pramipexole) is a dopamine agonist that can help with various Parkinson’s symptoms, such as stiffness, tremors, muscle spasms, and poor muscle control. The medication is available in tablet form and is usually taken once per day.