Parkinson’s Disease Guidelines and Dietary Recommendations

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by Justine Friedman RDN Clinical Dietician tor BSc (Med)(Hons) Diet (UCT)

There is no single Parkinson’s disease diet. But what you eat may impact how well your medication works and relieves Parkinson’s non-movement symptoms.

Justine Friedman RDN, Registered dietitian nutritionist and MWS Facilitator in Israel, shared an outline for Parkinson’s Disease Guidelines and Dietary Recommendations.

Disclaimer: This advice is not intended to treat or replace medical advice. Each person’s dietary and medical needs are unique to the individual and should be tailored accordingly. If any suggestions in this handout contradict your doctor’s guidance, please adhere to their advice. Likewise, if you are on any medication or have any co-existing conditions, please ensure you seek the direction of a registered dietician who can guide you. 

Parkinson’s Disease Guidelines

  • Vagus Nerve innervation (breathing exercises, gargling, humming)
  • Gut Microbiome optimization (Balanced Mediterranean style diet with high omega 3 intakes) together with
    • Prebiotics (from foods outlined below)
    • Probiotics
    • Megasporebiotic (Microbiome Labs)
    • Omega 3 supplement (if on blood thinners, this should be used with caution)
  • Stress reduction techniques
  • Regular appropriate exercise (to the slow decline of symptoms)

Dietary recommendations:

  • 2 liters of water daily
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners
  • Reduce (and if possible, avoid) the inclusion of added sugars and food with refined sugars
  • Reduce (and if possible, avoid) the inclusion of processed foods and products
  • Be mindful of salt in food and adding salt to food and in cooking (particularly if blood pressure is a concern)
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day to balance blood sugar levels and keep energy levels up
  • Include wholegrain carbohydrates at each meal (to occupy ¼ of a plate) e.g., oats/ oatmeal, quinoa, brown or wild rice, sweet potatoes, rye, seeded or spelt bread, buckwheat, bulgur, barley, corn, peas, green beans, butternut, pumpkin, and winter squash (fiber in foods will help to alleviate symptoms of constipation)
  • Include 2-3 servings (½ cup portion size) of fruit daily (if blood sugar is a concern, be mindful of quantity and type of fruit chosen) – where possible, prefer organically grown choices. Berries are wonderful sources of antioxidants.
  • Include 2 ½ cups of vegetables daily (it is best to have a variety to increase the diversity of nutrients eaten) – where possible, prefer organically grown choices. Dark green leafy vegetables are anti-inflammatory and excellent for brain health (try and have 1/3 of your plate from salad or vegetables)
  • When including dairy choose lower fat options to reduce saturated fat intake (saturated fat is pro-inflammatory), e.g., low-fat cottage cheese, 5% feta cheese, 1-2% milk. Keep high-fat cheeses to a minimum.
  • Eggs are a wonderful source of protein and many minerals. When cooking eggs, prefer boiling or poaching, and if frying, scrambling, or making an omelet, use no more than 1 tsp cold pressed organic virgin olive oil.
  • Choose lean proteins (if you can get wild-caught fish or grass-fed poultry and meat options, this is the best) and include them at main meals:
    • Fish (if possible fatty fish) Salmon, Mackerel, Tuna, Trout, Sardines, Anchovies, Whitefish,
    • Skinless chicken or turkey breast/ ground chicken or turkey breast, chicken thigh or leg with the skin removed (choose to grill or bake with spices and healthy oil and vegetables over using sauces)
    • Lean beef/ pork (grilled or baked, not fried)
    • Legumes (prefer organic), chickpeas, lentils, beans
    • Tofu
      (About 1/3 of your plate can be made up of any of the above protein choices- if you have renal concerns, please seek the assistance of a dietician to assist you with the correct quantities)
  • Include healthy fats (monounsaturated) rich in omega-3 fatty acids
    • Olive oil
    • Olives
    • Avocado
    • Unsalted nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews, brazil nuts)
    • Seeds (chia seeds, ground flaxseeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds)
    • Tahina
  • Drink alcohol in moderation (try and avoid having this too close to bedtime as it can affect your sleep)

To know more about Justin Friedman, follow here on LinkedIn or visit her website: www.justinefriedman.com

About the Author

Justine (Aginsky) Friedman

Justine (Aginsky) Friedman

Justine Friedman(nee Aginsky) RDN, is a South African trained, Licensed Clinical Dietician and Mindset Mentor who has run a successful clinical private practise for over 20 years.

The focus of her treatment with clients is to educate them in developing successful lifestyle habits, eating patterns, and behaviours that will holistically enable them to live lives of wellness.

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