What can my loved one with Parkinson's eat?

November 11, 2018

What can my loved one with Parkinson's eat?

Parkinson's and its medications can affect a person's appetite. Some people may feel sick or experience other side effects listed below.

Side effects of Parkinson's Disease

  • Weight loss
    • People with Parkinson's may eat lesser and lose weight because of swallowing difficulty as the disease progresses which makes eating difficult.
  • Constipation 
    • Bowel muscles are slow and rigid due to lack of dopamine (a neurotransmitter) in the brain – impairs control of muscle movement throughout the body.
  • Nausea
    • Some people experience nausea as a side effect caused by Parkinson's/Levodopa medications like Sinemet.

Therefore, here are some ways to ease these symptoms and boost their nutrition.

1. Have a snack while taking medication, such as plain cracker, or soft biscuits. 

2. Take your medication with plenty of water to reduce nausea.

3. Add fiber slowly to ease constipation, a common issue in Parkinson's

4. Serve protein during dinner, not earlier in the day during medications.

Protein (mostly found in meat, fish, eggs, milk) can decrease the absorption of Levodopa medications. Hence, it is generally advised to take these medications 30-45 minutes before a meal.

5. Serve calcium rich foods to prevent bone loss, because people with Parkinson's have higher risk of falls and fractures.

6. Serve small meals or snacks if eating makes your loved one feels tired easily.

7. Drink more water to prevent dehydration. But if drinking water leads to urinary urgency, try eating foods with a high water content in place of beverages, such as our high energy jellies or soups.

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