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Published on July 31st, 2021 | by Natural Awakenings Publishing Corp.


The Importance of Nutrition in Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) impacts many aspects of health. It can slow down the gastrointestinal tract, causing constipation, slowed stomach emptying and swallowing problems. It can also lead to a loss of sense of smell and taste. Medications used to treat PD can also cause nausea and appetite loss. One of the most important medications, Levodopa, must compete with protein for absorption from the small intestine. People with PD are at risk for malnutrition, yet with attention to diet, they can feel better, ward off nutrition-related diseases and prevent hospitalization.

PD medications can raise the risk for dehydration, and many patients don’t realize how important it is to drink a sufficient amount of water. A lack can lead to confusion, weakness, balance problems, respiratory failure, kidney failure and death. In the United States, dehydration is responsible for about 1.8 million days of hospital care each year (about 10 days per patient), and costs more than $1 billion annually.

People with PD often lose weight without meaning to due to nausea, loss of appetite, depression, and slowed movement, leading to a weakened immune system, muscle wasting, loss of vital nutrients and higher risk for other diseases. A daily menu based on whole grains with plenty of vegetables and fruits, calcium-rich foods and smaller portions of high-protein foods is the best possible choice for people with PD. The whole grains contain fiber that helps control the constipation that often occurs with PD, as well as aiding in the management of blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart disease.

For more information, call Kim Mihov at 201-722-1303 or visit Foundation.OhioHealth.com/delay-the-disease.

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