Caregivers for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) are often looking for ways to keep their family member as healthy as possible while also alleviating PD symptoms. One of the first places people sometimes look for better health is in the foods a person eats. While there isn’t a specific diet for people with PD, good nutrition is certainly important, and some foods may actually help with certain symptoms.
Easing Symptoms Through Diet
In general, people with PD should eat a varied diet just like everyone else. A varied diet helps ensure that their body gets the nutrition it needs, keeping them healthier and stronger. However, there are some foods that can help with certain PD symptoms. Here’s some advice for dealing with specific symptoms:
- Constipation: Getting enough fiber and liquids can help with managing constipation, a common problem for PD sufferers. Caregivers should ensure PD patients drink between six and eight glasses of water per day. To increase fiber intake, add more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes to their diet.
- Low Blood Pressure: Drinking more cold liquids and eating more salt can help with low blood pressure. However, talk to the doctor before taking this step if the person has a heart or kidney condition. Small meals eaten frequently can also help with fluctuating blood pressure.
- Swallowing Difficulties: If the senior has swallowing problems, work with a speech therapist to adapt their diet to include foods that will make swallowing easier. They may recommend foods with different consistencies. Eating more slowly, sitting upright, and taking smaller bites can also help.
- Muscle Cramps: People with muscle cramps may get some relief from eating turmeric or drinking tonic water. Some also say that vinegar, pickle juice, and salt help.
Caregivers looking for specific foods to add to their aging relative’s diet may want to try some of these foods recommended in a blog post written by Dr. Monique Giroux for the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation:
- Prunes: Prunes are loaded with nutrition, including fiber, vitamin A, potassium, and antioxidants. They can help with constipation.
- Chocolate: Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is high in antioxidants and flavonoids. Research suggests it may be beneficial for preventing heart disease and strokes. Of course, since chocolate is high in sugar, it should be eaten in moderation.
- Ginger: Ginger can help with nausea, which may occur as a result of some of the medicines used to treat PD.
- Papaya: Papaya can help think saliva that has become thickened because of PD.
Being a caregiver for someone with PD is a big responsibility. If you find yourself needing assistance, consider home care. Home care providers can help with many aspects of being a PD caregiver, including cooking healthy meals for your aging loved one.
If you or an aging loved one are considering caregivers in Ewing, NJ, please call the caring staff at Care Street Home Care. You can reach our Mercer/Burlington Division at (609) 496-5666.
Dr. Shelly, as he is fondly known, has served as an Alzheimer’s Support Group Facilitator in Mercer County and is a Certified Dementia Instructor. Knowledgeable, compassionate, and unusually devoted, his guidance is crucial in helping families understand their options and render decisions for their loved ones’ care plan. Dr. Shelly’s extensive experience, sincere and pleasant demeanor, and professional affiliations have made him a vital asset to Care Street.