Parkinson’s is a progressive degenerative disease that impacts a person’s brain and motor functions. It is characterized by unexplained and unstoppable tremors, loss of balance, and changes in gait. Fortunately, the symptoms of Parkinson’s can be managed with the right intake of nutrition. Similarly, eating certain foods can exacerbate the condition. This article sheds light on the foods to eat and avoid and medications that help manage Parkinson’s.
Foods to eat
These fruits provide numerous benefits and are high in bioactive ingredients like anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid rich in antioxidants. Flavonoids are known to protect the brain from damage. Berries are counted among the best fruits for Parkinson’s patients, as foods rich in antioxidants help reduce the amount of oxidative stress experienced by the brain and body. Berries are also rich in vitamin C, which acts as an immunity booster and plays a significant role in preventing secondary infections and conditions. Berries have other essential minerals and vitamins that keep the immune system healthy.
Foods packed with omega-3 fatty acids
It has been a long-held belief and scientifically proven that omega-3 fatty acid is helpful in the improvement of cognitive functioning. Since Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological disorder, this compound can help slow down the cognitive impairment of patients. The anti-inflammatory property of the compound can lower the inflammation caused in the brain. Some of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids are fish like salmon, sardine, mackerel, tuna, and herring. For vegetarian sources of omega-3, include foods like walnuts, soybean, flax seeds, and chia seeds in the patient’s meals. These foods are also rich in slow-digesting carbohydrates, which will leave one satiated for a longer period.
Some patients are recommended to eat fava beans to manage Parkinson’s, as they are rich in levodopa— an ingredient used in certain medications to treat the condition. This makes the beans a must-have food on the list for Parkinson’s patients. They are rich in plant protein and other essential vitamins and minerals. Researchers also claim that fava beans contain some additional ingredients that help keep the condition under control. Whether or not this is true is yet to be found, but levodopa is definitely known to benefit patients with Parkinson’s. That said, these beans can’t be a substitute for prescription treatments since it is not known how much levodopa one is getting when they eat fava them.
Green tea has become a common drink among the masses for the last few years, and for good reason. The drink is said to help the body fight oxidative damage caused by free radicals. The high antioxidants in green tea slow down the progression of Parkinson’s, as reported by the CNS’s journal in 2016. It does so by slowing down the process of neurological degeneration. How well the drink works for people living with the condition is yet to be determined, but its many benefits make it worth trying out.
Many frown upon this cruciferous veggie, thanks to its bland taste. However, what many may not know is how nutrient-dense broccoli is. Patients with Parkinson’s are often advised to include antioxidant-rich foods in their daily meals. Not only do these antioxidants help fight oxidative damage, but they also help in the healing process of cells. This makes broccoli an even better addition to one’s meals as Parkinson’s is a progressive disease. One can steam it, saute it, or simply add it raw to their salads–it makes for a nutritious addition to one’s meal.
Foods to avoid
Dairy products are one of the food groups that have been proven to increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease when consumed in huge amounts. It is believed that certain components in dairy have an undesirable impact on the brain, leading to Parkinson’s.
Foods high in protein
As discussed earlier, levodopa is a medication of choice among many for Parkinson’s treatment. It should be noted that it is crucial for hampering the fast progress of this degenerative disorder. It has been seen that in some Parkinson’s patients, proteins tend to interfere with the activity and efficacy of this medicine. However, since protein is a crucial part of the food regimen, it is prudent to not completely eliminate it from one’s meals. Speaking to medical professionals is a step in the right direction to realizing the right method to balance medications and nutrition. The same applies to dairy products.
Parkinson’s patients develop problems with their balance and gait, which results in unforeseen falls and injuries. It is known that alcohol can impair judgment and brain function, reduce reaction time, and lead to loss of balance and reduced motor skills.
Food is not the only way to manage Parkinson’s. Other treatment options include oral medications, physical therapy, mobility exercises, nutrition, and more. Since levodopa treatment’s impact decreases as time passes, here are some other used inhibitors doctors rely on to treat patients with Parkinson’s.
Tolcapone, a yellow crystalline compound, is often used in combination with levodopa to treat Parkinson’s. It helps deal with the enzyme catechol-O-methyltransferase by inhibiting it. It is available in the form of oral medication and used after medicines have failed at being effective.
ONGENTYS is often used in combination with levodopa, a dopamine replacement agent that is often found in Parkinson’s medications. It contains opicapone, a COMT inhibitor, which improves the amount of levodopa-carbidopa that reaches the brain. The medicine is available in the form of capsules.
Like other medications listed here, entacapone is also a compound that inhibits the COMT enzyme and increases the effectiveness of levodopa-carbidopa. It is used in combination with other medicines and can help in achieving control over motor fluctuations. It is often used to treat end-of-dose symptoms of Parkinson’s.
RYTARY (carbidopa and levodopa) capsules
RYTARY is an FDA-approved prescription medication that helps in treating Parkinson’s disease. The extended-release (ER) capsule contains two active properties, levodopa and carbidopa, and must be taken orally. Based on the prescription, the capsule can be taken three times a day. However, it is available in different concentrations, which means the doctor will prescribe a dosage based on the type and severity of the condition, any earlier medication used to treat Parkinson’s, and any potential medical conditions that the patient may have.