Parkinson’s and Nutrition

Healthy Food

Parkinson’s and Nutrition

Inflammation is your enemy, to control this enemy you need

1.Good Food

2. Good Sleep

3. A Good Attitude



1. Good Food


Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.


Food is the gasoline that runs our engines, the water that cools it, and the oil that lubricates it as well.



The Basics of Eating Well With Parkinson’s

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.

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. (Avoid Potato Chips, Fried Foods)

Try to limit sugars. Use natural sugars like raw sugar, honey, molassas, sorgum which have other beneficial properties like iron and such.

Moderate your use of salt. (Remember everything canned is loaded with salt)

Drink eight 8 oz. glasses of water per day. (Water can come in food as well i.e. Watermelon) Dehydration is a BIG ISSUE!

Ask your doctor about drinking alcoholic beverages (alcohol may interfere with some of your medications and it is very acidic).


Body Chemistry


Obviously all matter is nothing but chemistry , no matter what the element, compound or complex, it has only two sides to it. Period! These two sides are acid and base (also known as Alkaline)

Again, understanding the nature of the two sides of chemistry is vital in understanding what damages or weakens your body (cells) and what strengthens it.

It is obvious that each side of chemistry is the opposite of each other in its actions. Understanding which side of chemistry damages the cells (tissues) of the body, and which side of chemistry repairs or regenerates the cells, is vital to understanding life and death.

Acid breaks down our cells and Alkaline builds them up.  What causes Acidic build up in the body?

1.Acidic Foods

2.Activity (We need this to live well but it still produces acid as a by-product)

3.Negativity (Stress)



  Bad                       Better                   Best                  Best


We need some acids in life when aggressive activity is required. However, acids are generally the by-products of activity, e.g. metabolism, respiration, and most chemical activity in general.

Acids require alkaline chemistry to neutralize them. Our diet must be predominantly alkaline in its chemistry or one becomes acidic. The importance of the body being predominantly alkaline is seen with the blood. Our blood must be alkaline (approximately a pH of 7.3-7.4) or death would be imminent, so when we eat acid forming foods, the blood must find (or steal) alkaline chemistry to keep its alkalinity or pH balance! This constituent is mainly calcium and the blood will steal it out of its own walls, hence spider or varicose veins and problems with bone density. As said earlier, when acids begin to build up in our bodies, we begin to have problems.

Acids are generally cell by-products, which are dealt with through one’s lymphatic system. At first, simple stiffness, pain and swelling; then deeper problems affecting the function of the cells and tissues will begin. This in turn can affect hormone, steroid, and neurotransmitter production.

Tissues can then become hyperactive at first but will always end up hypo-active, which is “under-active” tissue like hypothyroidism. Remember, acids will eventually break down cells, ending in the death of the cells. During this process, the respective tissue fails to perform their functions. Remember, this is a simplistic overview. Always keep it simple.

Basically, proteins are acid forming, and carbohydrates are alkaline-forming. However, most grains are acidic in their digestive ash. Most fruits and vegetables are alkaline-forming.  Raw dairy products are alkaline, but if they are pasteurized they become acidic.  As you have probably guessed fresh fruits and vegetables are your alkaline forming friends and should be the larger part of your diet.

Remember that chemistry has only two sides to it. Basically, the Acid side can damage the cells and tissues of the body. The Alkaline side can rebuild the cells and tissues of the body.

Minerals You Need to Survive Well

Calcium: Involved in bone support, acid/alkaline balance as well as muscle and nerve function.  Calcium is involved in firing the nerves and contracting muscles.  It’s what makes your heart contract.

Magnesium: Like a supporting actor in a movie, magnesium doesn’t get the notoriety of other nutrients like calcium or sodium, but it quietly plays every bit as important a role in human health. In fact, magnesium is necessary for more than 300 chemical reactions in the human body. Magnesium creates and Maintain Bone Integrity, Enable Energy Production, Maintain Nervous System Balance (remember your heart, magnesium allows it to relax so it can pump again), Better Control of Inflammation, Magnesium is a co-factor for over 100 enzymes involved in the control of blood sugar and glucose metabolism. As such, low magnesium status would be expected to have wide-ranging adverse effects on blood sugar control as well as heart health and raw nerves.

Potassium: potassium is an electrolyte, meaning that it helps to conduct electrical charges in the body. Like all the other electrolytes, our bodies have elaborate systems to control blood Ph. levels in a narrow range.  Normal levels of potassium are absolutely critical to life—if potassium levels get too high or too low, the heart and nervous system completely shut down.

Salt:  Salt also an electrolyte is necessary for life, but watch out for table salt (sodium chloride) As it drives blood pressure up. Default to sea salt which is more mineral rich and less apt to drive up blood pressure.  Remember also that canned food is LOADED with sodium chloride.  Fresh vegetables or frozen are a better choice.   Go light on the salt but never take it completely out of your diet!



 So what do we want to Do?

Try to keep a diet of 70% Alkaline and 30% acid foods and eat a variety of Dark Leafy Green and colorful vegetables!

What if I have a problem with nuts?  We need nuts but if you have trouble with them use nut meal and mix it with your smoothie, yogurt or oatmeal to get the protein but not the diverticulitis!  Most health food stores let you grind your nuts into butters! No salt added!



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.

For some patients, levodopa may cause nausea when taken on an empty stomach. Therefore, your doctor may prescribe a combination of levodopa and carbidopa (called Sinemet) or carbidopa by itself (called Lodosyn). If nausea is a continual problem, your doctor may be able to prescribe another drug to relieve these symptoms.

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.

Be AWARE Protein can be a problem with some Parkinson’s medications.  So try to take you medication on an empty stomach and keep proteins at 1/2 hour before or 1- 1/2 hours after.  If you have trouble doing this talk to your Doctor and he will regulate your medications accordingly.  Your Doctor is your partner in management of your symptoms!



2. Good Sleep

Keep a regular sleep schedule, going to bed and getting up at the same time each day.

Take sedating medication late enough in the day so that you don’t get an increase in symptoms as you are trying to sleep.

Use satin sheets and pajamas to help with getting in and out of bed.

Minimize beverages before bedtime to help avoid nocturia (frequent nighttime urination).

Get exercise and exposure to light early in the day.  Parkinson’s patients are encouraged to spend time outdoors and to exercise each day, preferably in the morning or shortly after waking. Light therapy may also help normalize the sleep/wake cycles of Parkinson’s patients, especially those who may be unable to spend time outdoors.

If the Parkinson’s disease is not advanced then behavioral therapies may be useful.  Behavioral techniques may include changing attitudes about sleep, learning new sleep habits, and sticking to a regular sleep schedule. (Behavior Therapists)

No Coffee or caffeine products after 1pm is a rule of thumb suggested by most neurologists.


Good Attitude


What techniques can you think of to help develop a more positive attitude? Here are a few:

(Time for Yourself) Create some time for yourself EVERY day. Solitude allows us to develop our inner resources and feelings of independence.

(Laughter) Focus on the humorous aspects of daily life – and I know there are many if we allow ourselves to look at things that way. Laughter is therapeutic.

(Positive Self Talk) Talk to yourself in positive ways with upbeat messages instead of the negative thoughts that make you feel lonely and depressed.

(Let go of the past) Try hard to let go of what was so you can appreciate what is.

(BE Patient – it’s all ok) Be patient with yourself. It’s hard to change patterns of thinking – especially when we have so many reminders of how tough living with Parkinson’s and caregiving can be. Keep working on it.

Exercise, exercise, exercise!!! Your brain benefits from exercise the same way your body does. Exercise produces endorphins in the brain – those lovely natural antidepressants. Walking is the best exercise you can do for this. (Remember early in the day)

Spend time with positive friends. What a treat that can be!

The stress of Parkinson’s and caregiving can’t always be eliminated, but your reaction to it can be minimized. Take a deep breath and think before you react.

Be in touch with what really matters to you. Make plans to accomplish what is important for you to feel joy, satisfaction, peace and good about yourself.

Buy yourself some flowers.


Good Food

Good Sleep

and A Good Attitude



Some more Helpful Information


For those interested in the need for nutritionally dense foods:

Comparison between1948 and 1991 by the C.S.I.R.O. This a copy of what the Document says, as it is difficult to read


Depletion levels (percentages) US senate document No. 264 and the 1992 Earth Summit report documents declining minerals values in the farm and range soils. The percentage of mineral loss between 1948 and 1991 are as follows: North America 85%, South America 76%, Africa 74%, Europe 72%, Asia 76%, and Australia 55%.  So an apple in the United States has roughly the nutritional value of 1/6th of an apple from 1948.

When organic foods are weighed into the picture they have lost 50% of their mineral values.  Obviously better than 85 percent loss but still you only get ½ an apple compared to an apple in 1948.

These figures tell us that we need to take in nutritionally dense foods in order to stay healthy. Processed foods are only further stripped of their nutritional values.  Consequently we need to eat as many dark green leafy vegetables, brightly colored vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes as possible.

Another issue is the pesticide load on that apple.  Pesticides are designed to mess up the hormonal systems of the bugs that prey on the fruit and vegetables we need.  Unfortunately the load of pesticides on the produce will also accumulate and affect us as well.  Needless to say we don’t need that.

I have included the list below to help you sort out which fruits and vegetables you should buy organic to avoid the ones heavily laden with pesticides:


Pesticide Laden FoodsBuy these Conventional


Maintaining Your Weight With Parkinson’s Disease

Malnutrition and weight maintenance is often an issue for people with Parkinson’s disease. Here are some tips to help you maintain a healthy weight.

  • Weigh yourself once or twice a week, unless your doctor recommends weighing yourself more often. If you are taking diuretics or steroids, such as prednisone, you should weigh yourself daily.
  • If you have an unexplained weight gain or loss (2 pounds in one day or 5 pounds in one week), contact your doctor. He or she may want to modify your food or fluid intake to help manage your condition.

Here are some tips for gaining weight.

  • Ask your doctor about nutritional supplements. But, be sure to check with your doctor before making any dietary changes or before adding supplements to your diet. Some can be harmful or interfere with your medication.  Avoid low-fat or low-calorie products. (unless other dietary guidelines have been recommended). Use whole milk, whole milk cheese, and yogurt.


Recipe Suggestions for Dense Nutrition and Weight Gain

Strawberry Avocado Smoothie

This Avocado Strawberry smoothie is creamy and tastes like a dessert more than anything else, but in reality it’s a powerhouse of vitamins and nutrients.

The avocado in this blend allows the body to more easily absorb all of the vitamins and nutrients from the banana and strawberries. This recipe is high in fiber and heart healthy fat and can act as either a weight loss tool, or a part of a healthy weight gain diet.

Coupled with a meal, this can definitely serve as a healthy way to drink extra calories; eaten by itself (in place of a meal) it can also help with weight loss efforts because the healthy fats will fill you up and hold off your appetite. Either way, this is a creamy, fruity treat that tastes more like guilty treat than a healthy diet choice.


Here’s what you need to whip up a single serving:

¼ Cup milk

¾ Cup plain or vanilla yogurt

1 Whole banana

1 ½ Cup frozen strawberries

¼ avocado

¼ tsp Vanilla extract


How to make it

Pour the milk onto the blades of the blender, followed by the yogurt. If you want a thinner consistency, add more milk. Add the peeled banana and avocado, and then blend the mixture. When the mix is completely blended, add the frozen strawberries and blend until smooth.

The fat content in this drink is what keeps your hunger at bay for longer. Many people who are dieting try to reduce their fat intake and end up choosing all kinds of “fat free” or “low fat” products that really do more harm than good.

Your body needs fat for many essential functions, and if you cut out too much fat from your diet, you’re never going to feel full, which means that you end up eating more calories than you would have if you would have just eaten the full fat foods in the first place.

This recipe is an excellent source of heart healthy fats; enjoy.

Nutrition Information 
Calories: 404
Total Fat: 12.5 g
Saturated Fat: 3.5 g
Cholesterol: 16 mg
Sodium: 161 mg
Total Carbohydrates: 63 g
Dietary Fiber: 10 g
Sugars: 41 g
Protein: 15 g




Berry Banana Smoothie

The berry combo in this Berry Banana Smoothie provides vital nutrients necessary for healthy hair, skin, and nails, as well as an enduring energy boost. This low calorie smoothie is deep purple in color and is one of the most popular blends out there.

The fruit in this recipe offers a multitude of nutritional benefits, including a healthy dose of B and C vitamins. Blending a banana into the berry drink adds fiber, potassium, and enough density to satisfy an after-workout appetite. The low fat yogurt delivers a generous dose of both calcium and probiotic bacteria to support a well functioning digestive system.

Here’s what you need to whip up this single serving recipe:

1/8 Cup milk

1/2 Cup plain yogurt

1 Whole banana

1/2 Cup frozen strawberries

1/2 Cup frozen blueberries
Cinnamon, to taste


Pour milk onto the blades of the blender, followed by the yogurt. Add the peeled banana, then blend the mixture. Once the banana is completely blended, add the frozen berries, as well as the cinnamon, if desired.

Makes one large serving.

When trying to use smoothies to drop weight, always remember that liquid calories “count”. Fresh fruit drinks can serve as an amazing weight loss tool, but if you are eating a full lunch, as well as a 200 to 300 calorie drink on the side, you’re likely looking at taking in more calories than you ought to in order to create a caloric deficit.

If you’re going to drink a lot of smoothies while trying to lose weight, use them as a meal replacement with a small snack or healthy source of fat on the side. The fat source is not a detail that should be overlooked; without it, a meal will not stave off your hunger for very long.

 Nutrition Information

Calories: 265
Total Fat: 3.8 g
Saturated Fat: 1.8 g
Cholesterol: 9.8 mg
Sodium: 109.8 mg
Potassium: 927.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 49.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 6.2 g
Sugars: 34.2 g
Protein: 9.8 g


Peanut or Almond Banana Smoothie

Smoothies are an excellent go-to food to replenish the body after a tough workout. This is especially true of this particular blend.

High in protein and healthy fat, this hunger curbing recipe makes for a hearty breakfast, lunch, or after-workout refresher.

The yogurt creates a smooth desert-tasting consistency while providing bacteria conducive to a healthy digestive system. Adding ice is optional, and makes for a thicker, cooler smoothie. Drink this after exercising to recharge your energy stores with heart healthy fat and protein (see nutrition info below).

Other nutritional perks of this blend
• The banana adds additional fiber, as well as potassium, manganese, and vitamin B6
• The yogurt adds probiotics, which promotes healthy digestion because of the flora that it encourages in the digestive tract
• The yogurt also adds calcium and extra protein


3/4 Cup plain or vanilla yogurt

2 Tbs Peanut Butter
or Almond Butter

1 Banana

1/8 Cup milk

3/4 Cup ice


How to make it
Add the milk, yogurt, and banana; blend. Add the peanut butter (smooth or crunchy) and blend again. Lastly, blend in desired amount of ice; the more ice, the thicker the consistency. 

This makes one 14 ounce serving.

Nutrition Information 

Calories: 433
Total Fat: 20 g
Saturated Fat: 5.9 g
Cholesterol: 15mg
Sodium: 297mg
Total Carbohydrates: 48 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.0g
Sugars: 32 g
Protein: 21 g



Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

This smoothie is very filling, and eaten in addition with regular meals can serve as a weigh gain smoothie.

This has just under 600 calories (see nutrition information below), meaning that if you don’t want to put on extra weight, you should use this as a meal replacement, rather than a meal supplement. This smoothie is also high in fat and protein, which helps stave of hunger much more effectively than carbohydrates alone.

This is a good way to get a good dose of nutrients and satisfy a sweet tooth at the same time.

Benefits of this smoothie
• The yogurt supplies Calcium and probiotics, which help replenish healthy flora in the digestive tract.
• The banana is high in potassium, fiber, manganese, and Vitamin B6
• The dark chocolate is high in antioxidants

Between the vanilla yogurt, peanut butter, and banana, this blend offers a generous serving of protein, calcium, and fiber.


¼ Cup milk

¾ Cup plain or vanilla yogurt

1 Banana

2-3 Tbsp Dark Chocolate Chips
(or Raw Cocoa)

1 Cup ice

2 Tbsp Peanut Butter

(or Almond Butter)


How to make it
Pour the milk onto the blades of the blender. Add the yogurt, chocolate, and banana and mix. Then add the ice and peanut butter to the mix and blend well again until there are no ice or chocolate pieces left.

Makes one large serving.

Tips to keep your smoothie healthy:
• Use plain yogurt to keep the sugar content low (you can always sweeten the smoothie with honey or vanilla extract)
• Use dark chocolate in order to get the highest number of antioxidants
• Make sure that you use a nut butter that is natural and without trans fats or high fructose corn syrup. The healthiest and best tasting kinds have these ingredients: peanuts, and salt

Nutrition Information 
Calories: 568
Total Fat: 27 g
Saturated Fat: 11 g
Cholesterol: 21 mg
Sodium: 324mg
Total Carbohydrates: 63 g
Dietary Fiber: 6 g
Sugars 45 g
Protein 23 g





Controlling Nausea

There are several ways to control or relieve nausea, including:

  • Drink clear or ice-cold drinks. Drinks containing sugar may calm the stomach better than other liquids.
  • Avoid orange and grapefruit juices because these are too acidic and may worsen nausea.
  • Drink beverages slowly.
  • Drink liquids between meals instead of during them.
  • Eat light, bland foods (such as saltine crackers or plain bread).
  • Avoid fried, greasy, or sweet foods.
  • Eat slowly.
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day.
  • Do not mix hot and cold foods.
  • Eat foods that are cold or at room temperature to avoid getting nauseated from the smell of hot or warm foods.
  • Rest after eating, keeping your head elevated. Activity may worsen nausea and may lead to vomiting.
  • Avoid brushing your teeth after eating.
  • Try to eat when you feel less nauseated.

If these techniques do not seem to ease your queasy stomach, consult your doctor.




Relieving Thirst/Dry Mouth

Some Parkinson’s disease medications may make you thirsty. Here are some tips for relieving thirst and dry mouth:

Drink eight or more cups of liquid each day. But, some people with Parkinson’s disease who also have heart problems may need to limit their fluids, so be sure to follow your doctor’s guidelines.

Limit caffeine (contained in coffee, tea, cola, and chocolate) as it may interfere with some of your medications and may actually make you more dehydrated and keep you awake at night.

Make smoothies!

Dunk or moisten breads, toast, cookies, or crackers in milk, decaffeinated tea or coffee to soften them.

Take a drink after each bite of food to moisten your mouth and to help you swallow.

Add sauces to foods to make them soft and moist. Try gravy, broth, sauce, or melted butter.

Eat sour fruit ice or lick a lemon to help increase saliva and moisten your mouth.

Don’t use a commercial mouthwash. Commercial mouthwashes often contain alcohol that can dry your mouth. Ask your doctor or dentist about alternative mouthwash products.

Ask your doctor about artificial saliva products. They are available by prescription.


I Am Too Tired to Eat in the Evening, What Should I Do?

If you are often too tired to eat later in the day, here are some tips:

  • Save your energy. Choose foods that are easy to prepare. Don’t waste all your energy in preparing the meal because then you’ll feel too tired to eat.
  • Ask your family to help with meal preparations.
  • Check to see if you are eligible to participate in your local Meals on Wheels Program.
  • Keep healthy snack foods on hand such as fresh fruit and vegetables, pretzels, crackers, high-fiber cold cereals.
  • Freeze extra portions of what you cook so you have a quick meal when you’re too tired.
  • Rest before eating so you can enjoy your meal.
  • Try eating your main meal early in the day so you have enough energy to last you for the day.



I Don’t Feel like Eating, What Should I Do?

Here are some tips for improving poor appetite.

  • Talk to your doctor; sometimes, poor appetite is due to depression, which can be treated. Your appetite will probably improve after depression is treated.
  • Eat things that have tastes you enjoy (put orange peels in with peas when you cook them then remove before eating, tastes great)
  • Avoid non-nutritious beverages.
  • Eat small, frequent meals and snacks.
  • Walk or participate in another light activity to stimulate your appetite. Exercise makes you hungry!


Here are some tips to help you eat more at meals.

  • Drink beverages after a meal instead of before or during a meal so that you do not feel full before you begin eating.
  • Plan meals to include your favorite foods.
  • Try eating the high-calorie foods in your meal first.
  • Use your imagination to increase the variety of food you’re eating.

Here are some tips to help you eat snacks.

  • Don’t waste your energy eating foods that provide little or no nutritional value such as potato chips, candy bars, colas, and other snack foods.

Choose high-protein and high-calorie snacks. High calorie snacks include: ice cream, cookies, pudding, cheese, granola bars, custard, sandwiches, nachos with cheese, eggs, crackers with peanut butter, bagels with peanut butter or cream cheese, cereal with half and half, fruit or vegetables with dips, yogurt with granola, popcorn with margarine and parmesan cheese, or bread sticks with cheese sauce.



How Can I Make Eating More Enjoyable?

Make food preparation an easy task. Choose foods that are easy to prepare and eat.

Make eating a pleasurable experience, not a chore. For example, liven up your meals by using colorful place settings and play background music during meals.

Try not to eat alone. Invite a guest to share you meal or go out to dinner.

Use colorful garnishes such as parsley and red or yellow peppers to make food look more appealing and appetizing.