Nutrition

At the first stages of Parkinson’s disease, you need to eat foods rich in antioxidants because there is some evidence suggesting that antioxidants can be beneficial. Antioxidants are those chemicals that scavenge and eat-up so-called ‘free radicals’ –- tiny molecules that circulate in your tissues and damage those tissues. Free radicals have a special affinity for cells that produce dopamine. So the greater the number of antioxidants in your system, the fewer the number of circulating free radicals. Theoretically that should reduce the rate of loss of dopamine cells over time.

Antioxidants – The Key to Prevention and Control

That antioxidants also slow down the progression of existing Parkinson’s disease was demonstrated in 1991 in a pilot study carried out by Dr. Stanley Fahn of Columbia University.

You may find that as your Parkinson’s progresses you will need to adjust your diet so that your medications are more easily absorbed. Or, you may need to do so that you can more easily chew and swallow food, or so that you will not get constipated.

Fruits and vegetables — especially the darkly colored fruits and vegetables.
Spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, garlic, red kidney beans, pinto beans, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, plums and apples.

Tea — especially green tea and black tea, red wine contains antioxidants. Dark juices like pomegranate and blueberry juices also.

Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential nutrient for most tissues in your body so you want to make sure to consume adequate amounts of these nutrients. Fatty fish like mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon at least twice a week

You also need to get adequate sources of calcium, magnesium, and vitamins D and K to strengthen skin and bone. You can usually obtain these nutrients from dairy products like yogurt, cheese and milk.

Here are some ways to include these healthy foods in your diet:

  • Blueberries, raspberries and blackberries can be stirred into vanilla yogurt or with ice in a blender to make a smoothie. ( can also help prevent the constipation).
  • spinach can combine with foods, such as salad or rice or scrambled eggs. stir chopped, fresh spinach, tossed in olive oil into salads or into steamed brown rice.
  • Carrots are loaded with a potent antioxidant called beta-carotene. Cooked, steamed or pureed carrots liberate the antioxidants or somehow make them easier to absorb. Cooked carrots are often more tasty as well.
  • Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant and is found in some nuts in whole grains, like brown rice, cous cous or bulgur wheat. Then add items like raisins or cranberries, chopped parsley or spinach, and olive oil.

People with a high intake of sugar (mono- and disaccharides) increase their risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by a factor of three as compared to people with a more moderate intake.

Flavonoids, and in particular the proanthocyanidins (grape seed and pine bark extracts) which are water- soluble, stronger antioxidants than vitamin C, and readily cross into the brain fluid should also be excellent candidates as
Parkinson’s disease preventers and retarders. Clinical trials are, however, still required to support this hypothesis.

Another promising candidate in Parkinson’s disease prevention is coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone) that also is absorbed in brain fluids and is a very powerful antioxidant.

  • The overall conclusion of this recent research is that one can lower one’s risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by reducing one’s intake of animal fats and sugar, avoiding excessive exposure to metals such as aluminum, iron, manganese, mercury, cadmium and copper, and by ensuring an adequate intake of antioxidants.

by:
Jean-Philippe RICAU
Dietician
Nicosia
www.dietician-jpricau.com.cy