Parkinson’s disease is a progressive condition of the nervous system that affects movement and often gradually deteriorates quality of life. It impairs body movement and progressively worsens over time, often beginning with a barely noticeable tremor in one of the hands, which is the most common sign. Although it also usually includes decreased movement and muscle stiffness, changes in balance, disturbances in speech and writing. A very interesting fact is that it has been verified that Parkinson’s is closely related to a lack of dopamine cells in the bodyBased on this, researchers and medical experts have focused on finding new ways to increase dopamine naturally through diet.
There are currently no known cures for Parkinson’s disease, but there are medications and everyday actions that can improve symptoms. According to the experts of recognized health organizations worldwide, although as such there is no specific diet; some fundamental dietary measures to consider have been established. Among which the consumption of whole foods, of 100% natural origin, that shine for their content in fiber, protein, omega-3, are characterized by their benefits to naturally increase dopamine production, have anti-inflammatory, cardio and neuroprotective properties. Based on this, we undertook the task of compiling the basic recommendations established by the World Parkinson’s Organization.
1. Avoid fad diets
In recent months, more and more people have shown interest in following fad diets that promise the most effective results to enhance health and weight loss, however in the long term they tend to lead to significant nutritional imbalances. The main advice for people with Parkinson’s disease is to consume a variety of natural products from all food groups, following the guidelines of the MyPlate program of the US Department of Agriculture., which promotes a healthy distribution of the nutrients that make up a traditional dish. This type of approach not only ensures that you consume all the nutrients your body and brain need to function well; as is the case with proteins, fiber, vitamins and minerals. It is a key aspect to obtain the energy that is needed to control the disease and reduce the symptoms.
2. Recommended foods
The most recent research focuses on the importance in the consumption of proteins, flavonoids and probiotics, are essential to improve the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. According to information released by the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, antioxidant-rich foods are just as important, have the ability to reduce “oxidative stress” which aggravates Parkinson’s. Fortunately, antioxidants are found in a wide range of foods of natural origin that are easy to integrate into the daily diet: the whole family of nuts, dried fruits and seeds, with special emphasis on pistachios, cashews, peanuts, almonds and chia seeds. Legumes like beans, lentils, and chickpeas, as well as whole grain cereals are staples. They are also found in powerful fruits: such as red fruits such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, pomegranate, goji berries and elderberries, grapes, mango, tangerines, oranges, kiwi. Regarding vegetables: tomatoes, peppers, aubergines and other nightshade vegetables, green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, chard and leeks. It is essential to integrate medicinal spices with great anti-inflammatory potential such as turmeric root, ginger, cinnamon and other medicinal herbs. Interestingly, these recommendations are directly related to the pattern that promotes a plant-based diet. Therefore, experts agree that it is a great scheme to follow, which is also associated with other qualities for health and prevention of chronic conditions.
3. Limit your intake of sugar and salt
A diet based on excessive sugar consumption usually results in a high caloric intake and provides very few nutrients. Although by now everything has been said about the consequences of an excessive consumption of refined sugar that most of it comes from ultra-processed foodsIt is worth mentioning that it is one of the main causes of inflammation. This in turn increases the risk of all types of chronic diseases, as happens specifically with obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and depression. The same thing happens with salt and sodium, are active triggers of hypertension and cardiac deterioration that usually complicates the picture of people with Parkinson’s disease. Avoid the consumption of: sodas, sweetened drinks, salty snacks, sauces and industrial soups, pastries, desserts and sweets.
4. Increase the consumption of Omega-3
Foods rich in omega-3s are one of the most faithful recommendations for a balanced and healthy dietThey are also the best ally for brain health and benefit the functioning of the digestive system. That is why they are the best ally to counteract the secondary symptoms of the disease, specifically with dementia and confusion. Bet on the consumption of: fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel, oysters, soybeans, flax seeds, beans, olive oil, avocado and nuts. These foods contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can improve cognitive function and are also powerful anti-inflammatories. In addition, by choosing a diet low in saturated and cholesterol, the risk of heart attack and certain types of cancer is reduced, it is worth mentioning that healthy fats are key to losing weight and maintaining it.
5. Avoid alcohol consumption
Alcohol will never be a good ally of health, much less when suffering from a chronic disease. Although enjoying a drink on special occasions does not symbolize a big problem, it is important to avoid alcohol not only for its high caloric intake, in sugar and low in nutrient content. Drinking alcohol in excess deteriorates cardiovascular, nervous, brain and emotional health and causes different disorders, which further complicate Parkinson’s disease.
6. Eat more fruits
Fruits are rich in a substance called farnesol, which occurs naturally in products of plant origin. Recently a study found that a high consumption of farnesol through various fruits, significantly prevented the loss of dopamine neurons and reversed the behavioral deficits characteristic of Parkinson’s disease, in addition to preventing brain damage related to the disease. This substance is very important since, in the brain of people with Parkinson’s disease, an accumulation of PARIS slows down the production of the protective protein PGC-1 alpha. The protein protects brain cells from harmful reactive oxygen molecules that build up in the brain. Without this protective protein (PGC-1alpha), dopamine neurons die, leading to the cognitive and physical changes associated with Parkinson’s disease. The consumption of berries such as blueberries, blackberries, cherries and raspberries, apples, and pears.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.