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Parkinson's Disease (PD): Nutrition

There are specific reasons that it’s important for people with Parkinson’s disease to maintain a healthy diet and drink plenty of water.

Constipation is common in people with Parkinson’s disease because the movement of the colon can slow. If constipation is not resolved it can lead to bowel impaction which may require surgery. To avoid this, experts recommend getting enough fiber and drinking an adequate amount of water. Foods rich in fiber include leafy greens such as spinach and chard, all kinds of bran, cooked beans, berries, , nuts and seeds, cooked squash, and other vegetables and fruits.

Another concern for people with Parkinson’s disease is bone thinning. The National Parkinson Foundation (NPF) recommends that people with Parkinson’s disease eat “meals that provide the bone-strengthening nutrients including: calcium, magnesium, vitamins D and K.” A health care provider can help determine the amounts of nutrients needed.

The good news is that there is overlap here as some foods rich in fiber are also loaded with calcium. For example, kale, oatmeal, sesame seeds, and soybeans all have fiber and calcium.

Because many medications for Parkinson’s disease increase the risk or dehydration, the National Parkinson Foundation encourages people living with PD to drink “plenty of fluids throughout the day.” Beverages—ideally water-- should be sipped frequently in order to hydrate cells best. However, make sure to decrease fluids later in the day so that a need to urinate does not interfere with a good night’s sleep. 

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