Using a healthy diet and hydration as tools to manage Parkinson’s symptoms seems like a simple concept. Drink water and eat a balanced diet. Yes, it sounds easy … but you’ll find it’s challenging once you give it a try! However, if you start small and think creatively, it is not an insurmountable task.
Here are a few ideas to get you started on your path to wellness.
- Set achievable goals for daily changes to your diet. Many of those changes begin with your grocery list; for example, replace white bread with a whole-grain option, or sugar with local honey.
- Be aware of your food intake timing, especially protein. Doctors recommend taking carbidopa/levodopa, one of the most widely used Parkinson’s medications, approximately 30 minutes before eating to improve absorption. Protein and carbidopa/levodopa will compete for absorption, which will not maximize the medication’s benefits.
- Don’t wait until you are thirsty to hydrate. By the time you feel thirsty, you may already be dehydrated. Find ways to incorporate water into your daily routine to avoid dehydration. For example, you can aim to drink a glass of water each time you brush your teeth — people with sleeping problems are more likely to wake up dehydrated. There are also gadgets to help, like the daily water bottle my daughter-in-law, Nikki, got me. It has time markers with motivational sayings. The bottle provides little-by-little goals to drink 64 ounces of water by 7 p.m.
- For a treat, drink some red wine and eat dark chocolate. Research has shown that they may have health benefits for Parkinson’s.
- Add delicious foods with high water content and nutrients — such as strawberries, melons, pineapple, cucumbers, and butternut squash — into your diet. Try out the Parkinson’s-specific recipe from the Brian Grant Foundation website.
Speaking of smoothies…
National Smoothie Day is June 21. Smoothies can be a tasty snack or a nutritious meal, especially for breakfast when you need nutrients to start your day on the right foot.
Healthy ingredients like spinach, kale, beets, avocados, and flax seeds are camouflaged by other healthy but tastier ingredients like blueberries, strawberries, mangoes, and acai berries. For extra calories and protein, you could blend them with yogurt and milk.
Also, because smoothies are so customizable and sweet, they’re an easy way to rope your family in your wellness journey. A family favorite topping is chocolate chips — dark chocolate, of course!
There are a variety of ingredients to accommodate different dietary needs, so flex your creative muscles!
You are up for the challenge. Take the first step in the wellness journey. The possibilities are endless. Be sure to share your ideas here in a comment or visit our online forums.
Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.