PARKINSON'S AND NUTRITION
While there is no special diet for people with Parkinson's disease, eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet is extremely beneficial. With the proper diet, our bodies work more efficiently, we have more energy, and Parkinson's disease medications will work properly.
SAMPLE FOODS FOR HEALTHY EATING
* Read the food labels when you shop for groceries and know what you're buying *
One Bowl for Your Fiber Needs
For a nourishing start to your day, choose a whole-grain bran cereal packed with fiber, such as bran flakes. Add fruit and low-fat milk for the most nutritious beginning. Granola may be natural but it's often high in fat. Use granola sparingly or as a topper on low-fat yogurt.
Skip High-Fat Pizza Toppings
Enjoy thin-crust frozen pizza Margarita style, or with grilled chicken or veggies. By passing on the sausage, pepperoni, and extra cheese, you'll slash the fat, sodium, and calories in this favorite food. Limit your portion to two slices (of a 12-inch pizza) and add a filling side salad to complete the meal.
Spaghetti – A Healthy Favorite
Try the new whole-wheat pasta blends. Even the kids will like it if you top the spaghetti with your favorite tomato sauce. Voila! You’ve turned a childhood favorite into a high-fiber and nutrient-rich dish. Macaroni and cheese may be an old-standby, but it’s low in fiber and loaded with fat and calories.
Frozen Meals Can Be Healthy, Too!
Look for frozen meals that feature lean protein, plenty of vegetables, whole grains, and a low-fat or simple sauce. Avoid fried frozen food, or creamy casseroles. Frozen meals that are baked, grilled, steamed, or sautéed are healthier and lower in calories.
Fat-Free Frozen Shrimp & Prawns
Shrimp are a tastier and healthier alternative to breaded fish sticks.
You can buy them already cooked and shelled. Eat them cold with cocktail sauce, grill them, or sauté with veggies in a stir-fry.
Go for Real Juice
100% fruit juices are naturally rich in vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting antioxidants. In fact, they're the next best thing to eating whole fruit. "Fruit juice drinks," however, are usually packed with sugar and empty calories.
Shave the Fat, Not the Flavor
Choose sorbets, sherbets, light ice creams, or frozen yogurts for a fraction of the fat and calories. Thanks to a new special churning technology, these frozen treats taste like rich and creamy premium ice cream. A ½ cup dessert can fit into everyone's diet.
Popcorn Is a Perfect Healthy Snack
Low-fat popcorn is crunchy, delicious, and a source of whole grain fiber. Plus, you can enjoy a large, filling portion! Look for popcorn made with "94% Fat Free Butter" or air-popped popcorn. Potato chips are high in fat and it's hard to eat just a few -- all that you get in a 1-ounce serving. If you love chips, go for the baked ones and watch your portion size.
Snack on Healthy Hummus
Hummus is a tasty combination of nutrition when paired with fresh veggies like baby carrots or baked pita chips. Made from chick peas, hummus is a good source of iron, vitamin C, protein, and fiber. So enjoy the pleasing taste of hummus and skip the cheese dip that can lead to diet sabotage.
THE BASICS OF EATING WELL
Eat a variety of foods from each food category. Ask your doctor if you should take a daily vitamin supplement.
Maintain your weight through a proper balance of exercise and food. Ask your doctor what your "goal" weight should be and how many calories you should consume per day.
Include high-fiber foods such as vegetables, cooked dried peas and beans (legumes), whole-grain foods, bran, cereals, pasta, rice, and fresh fruit in your diet.
Choose foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
Try to limit sugars.
Moderate your use of salt.
Drink eight 8 oz. glasses of water per day.
Ask your doctor about drinking alcoholic beverages (alcohol may interfere with some of your medications).
Also, ask your doctor if you should change your daily protein intake. In rare cases, a diet high in protein limits the effectiveness of levodopa.
PARKINSON'S MEDICATION AND FOOD INTERACTIONS
The medication levodopa generally works best when taken on an empty stomach, about ½ hour before meals or at least one hour after meals. It should be taken with 4-5 oz. of water. This allows the drug to be absorbed in the body more quickly.
TOP 10 HEART-HEALTHY FOODS:
1. Berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries (red grapes count, too)
2. Fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna (have it twice a week)
3. Soy foods, such as soybeans, tofu, and soybean oil -- all are good sources of isoflavones
4. Whole grains, such as breads, cereals, and oatmeal
5. Nuts, such as almonds, pecans, and walnuts
6. Olive oil
7. Beans, such as pintos, garbanzos, lentils, kidney beans, and chickpeas
8. Other fruits and vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach, and grapefruit
9. Margarines, such as those fortified with stanols or sterols
10. Teas, particularly green and black teas
NUTRITION AND THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET
FOR PARKINSON'S DISEASE
Although it's not clear why certain foods might have a protective effect, some research suggests Parkinson's disease may be more likely to occur when cells in the body undergo a damaging process called oxidative stress.
This is where harmful substances get into the body, usually through poor diet, and attack healthy cells in much the same way as rust rots a car. Fruit, vegetables, fish and pulses all contain high levels of antioxidants, which can help to block this process.
RESEARCH-BASED SUPPORT OF THE ABOVE:
In the latest study, researchers at the University of Tokyo assessed the eating habits of 249 newly-diagnosed Parkinson's patients and compared them with 368 healthy volunteers. They split them into three groups. 'Healthy' diets were dominated by fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, pulses, mushrooms and seaweed, 'Western' diets, featuring higher levels of red and processed meat and foods high in animal fats and - 'Light Meals' - roughly half way between the two.
The results showed those in the 'Healthy diet' group who ate the highest amounts of plant foods and fish were nearly half as likely to get Parkinson's disease as those who ate the least. Meanwhile, neither of the other two diets had any protective effect.
In a report on their findings the researchers said: 'A dietary pattern consisting of high intakes of vegetables, fruits and fish may be associated with a decreased risk of Parkinson's disease.'
BENEFITS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET (from the Mayo Clinic)
Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease. In fact, an analysis of more than 1.5 million healthy adults demonstrated that following a Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of death from heart disease and cancer, as well as a reduced incidence of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends the Mediterranean diet as an eating plan that can help promote health and prevent disease. And the Mediterranean diet is one your whole family can follow for good health.
KEY COMPONENTS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes:
Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
Replacing butter with healthy fats, such as olive oil
Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
The diet also recognizes the importance of being physically active, and enjoying meals with family and friends.
FOCUS ON FRUITS, VEGETABLES, NUTS AND GRAINS
The Mediterranean diet traditionally includes fruits, vegetables and grains. For example, residents of Greece average six or more servings a day of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables.
Grains in the Mediterranean region are typically whole grain and usually contain very few unhealthy trans fats, and bread is an important part of the diet. However, throughout the Mediterranean region, bread is eaten plain or dipped in olive oil — not eaten with butter or margarine, which contains saturated or trans fats.
Nuts are another part of a healthy Mediterranean diet. Nuts are high in fat, but most of the fat is healthy. Because nuts are high in calories, they should not be eaten in large amounts — generally no more than a handful a day. For the best nutrition, avoid candied or honey-roasted and heavily salted nuts.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
The Mediterranean diet is a delicious and healthy way to eat. Many people who switch to this style of eating say they'll never eat any other way. Here are some specific steps to get you started:
Eat your veggies and fruits — and switch to whole grains. A variety of plant foods should make up the majority of your meals. They should be minimally processed — fresh and whole are best. Include veggies and fruits in every meal and eat them for snacks as well. Switch to whole-grain bread and cereal, and begin to eat more whole-grain rice and pasta products. Keep baby carrots, apples and bananas on hand for quick, satisfying snacks. Fruit salads are a wonderful way to eat a variety of healthy fruit.
Go nuts. Nuts and seeds are good sources of fiber, protein and healthy fats. Keep almonds, cashews, pistachios and walnuts on hand for a quick snack. Choose natural peanut butter, rather than the kind with hydrogenated fat added. Try blended sesame seeds (tahini) as a dip or spread for bread.
Pass on the butter. Try olive or canola oil as a healthy replacement for butter or margarine. Lightly drizzle it over vegetables. After cooking pasta, add a touch of olive oil, some garlic and green onions for flavoring. Dip bread in flavored olive oil or lightly spread it on whole-grain bread for a tasty alternative to butter. Try tahini as a dip or spread for bread too.
Spice it up. Herbs and spices make food tasty and can stand in for salt and fat in recipes.
Go fish. Eat fish at least twice a week. Fresh or water-packed tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel and herring are healthy choices. Grill, bake or broil fish for great taste and easy cleanup. Avoid breaded and fried fish.
Rein in the red meat. Limit red meat to no more than a few times a month. Substitute fish and poultry for red meat. When choosing red meat, make sure it's lean and keep portions small (about the size of a deck of cards). Also avoid sausage, bacon and other high-fat, processed meats.
Choose low-fat dairy. Limit higher fat dairy products, such as whole or 2 percent milk, cheese and ice cream. Switch to skim milk, fat-free yogurt and low-fat cheese.