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Importance of diet in Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson's disease is the second most prevalent neurodegenerative disease in ageing individuals. It is a progressive and incurable neurodegenerative disease of the central nervous system that usually develops in individuals after the age of 50. PD is characterized by motor symptoms, including shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement and gait impairment that are caused by the loss of dopaminergic neurons in substantia nigra pars compacta of the midbrain. 
In addition to the characteristic motor symptoms, PD progresses people can develop symptoms including depression, trouble chewing, difficulty swallowing, constipation, dehydration, excessive salivation, and decreased gastric motility (a slowing of the natural movement of food from the stomach into the intestines). In addition, many of the medications used to treat PD can cause side effects that impact diet, such as dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, appetite loss, insomnia, fatigue, and/or anxiety. Unintentional weight loss is also common among people with PD, and can result in a decrease in overall health and increase the risk of death.
It  is a chronic, progressive disease, the nutritional needs of the individual may change over time.
Importance of nutrition in Parkinson’s Disease:
·        Good nutrition and Balanced diet helps to improve patients health and slows down the progression of disease.
·        Drink enough water or liquids such as chach, coconut water, lemon water  and eat fiber-rich foods, including  whole grains, vegetables. Salads,  fruit and beans to ease digestive difficulties and constipation.
·        Add good amount of vegetables and salads in routine diet to relieve from constipation.
·        Incorporate foods high in antioxidants (which are important for overall brain health) in diet. These include brightly colored and dark fruits and vegetables.
·        Balance the food intake with physical activity to maintain healthy body weight.
·        Maintain a healthy weight to reduce chances of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, certain cancers and common types of diabetes.
·        Take your medications with a full glass of water. It may help your body break down the medication more efficiently.
·        Limit sugar intake, avoid alcohol and caffeine particularly before bed, as they may interrupt sleep.
·        Eat a handful of Nuts and dry fruits daily to improve brain health.
·        As the disease progresses, patients suffers with dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing), it make eating foods challenging. Try to manage nutritional requirements through liquid and soft diets.
·        Patients may loose weight because of  nausea and compromised nutrition, so try to feed them small and feequent meals.
·        Nutritient plays an important role in parkinson’s disease, always consult with a dietician and nutritionist to improve patient’s nutrition.
Dr. Surbhi Pareek

(Clinical  Dietician & Nutritionist)
Santokba durlabhji memorial hospital cum medical research institute,
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