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Ten Dietary Rules to Help Manage Parkinson’s Disease That Can Revitalize Anyone’s Life

Wednesday December 29, 2010

Marshall Davidson

Ezine Articles - As a sufferer of Parkinson's disease and a physician/medical writer, the combination of all my research on the disease and my direct life experience with it yielded these rules.

I narrowed a larger set of recommendations down to 10 rules for my diet to best insure a high antioxidant healthy balance that controls my weight and still provides adequate protein.

Following the 10 rules 90 percent of the time is not as difficult to follow nor as expensive as it looks. Try it whether you have Parkinson's or not. I am willing to bet that no matter who you are, you will feel more vitality, have better concentration during the day, and sleep better at night.

You'll also maintain a healthy body weight if you actually adopt these principles permanently and follow them at least 6 days out of 7 each week. I take one day a week for pizza beer and ice cream desert. I love this combination and as I look forward to this treat each week, the anticipation gives me better motivation to stick with the rules:

1. As much as possible avoid processed foods which means eating mainly foods in their original (or close-to in the case of nuts) natural state, ie, raw/steamed/blendered veggies and fruits (especially berries) and nuts. I buy organic wherever it's not too expensive. Also frozen berries are much cheaper by weight than fresh berries.

2. Minimize dairy products. Maybe milk in coffee or yogurt as part of a smoothie. Evidence for this choice is scant but I tend to feel less bloated. Many food gurus will warn of the great harm that dairy products supposedly wreak on your digestive system. I have yet to find a controlled peer-reviewed academic study that proves this.

3. No bread/pastas or wheat products. This is personal. I get very bloated and more hungry when I indulge in wheat products. I love pizza and am thankful that a nearby restaurant makes a delicious gluten-free pizza that hardly tastes different from normal pizza. Regular normal wheat-crust pizza is part of my weekly treat as described above.

4. No diet soda or any other sources of aspartame or other artificial sweeteners. Also sodas contain sodium benzoate which has been accused of endangering dopamine neurons because it has the highly reactive benzene as part of its structure. Dangerous benzene-like molecules get released into the bloodstream when it is metabolized. Regarding diet soda it is said that actor and PD sufferer Michael J. Fox drank huge quantities of diet cola on the various sets while working. I also have an extensive history of an intimate relationship with this product having consumed as many as ten cans during a typical 24 hour call hospital duty.

5. Take in adequate protein from lean meat or fish, which for me manifests mainly as salmon patties or chicken twice a day (I've got some recipes I should publish later) but the George Foreman grill has become an essential fixture in my kitchen. Chicken is free range organic when I can get it. Free-range means it did not grow up confined to a cage. Salmon of course is high in Omega fats and relatively low in mercury (vs larger fish like tuna and swordfish, both with high mercury levels in their meat). If you are taking L-Dopa consult your neurologist regarding specific intake and timing of high protein meals.

6. Only indulge occasionally on snacks high in sugar. Even "natural" sweeteners like honey are comprised mostly of sugar. Sugar stimulates insulin production which causes increased fat storage.

7. If male, avoid soy-based products. Soy contains compounds that act like estrogen in the body. The Parkinson's has already diminished my libido so I need all the help I can get.

8. Most importantly never eat to fullness. I leave myself just satisfied or even slightly hungry after each meal. It has been proven in countless animal studies that critters given 20-30% less calories than they would take in normally if they had free access to food, live significantly longer lives, develop fewer diseases like cancer, and age less.

9. Be cautious with psycho-active compounds like caffeine and alcohol. Use both in moderation. I don't avoid caffeine but I limit my intake to 2 cups of coffee a day. I moderately consume alcohol (1-2 drinks every other day). Both caffeine and alcohol are thought to work possibly as neuro-protective agents in Parkinson's. Alcohol makes my daytime sleepiness worse so I am careful about the timing when I choose to indulge. Because my Parkinson's makes me sleepy I rarely even take a single drink if driving.

10. Consume eight(8) glasses of filtered water each day (systems sold in supermarkets as a water pitcher or faucet attachment with disposable cartridges). Filtered water is proven safer than bottled water which often contains residue hydrocarbon compounds from the plastic bottle. Additionally do you really imagine that all bottled water comes from pristine mountain springs? Where are they all? I've never run into one. By the way, some day I am going to write a piece about how I can prove to anyone why those ridiculously expensive alkaline water processors are a complete sham.

Addendum on Supplements: I don't take a multivitamin because all the brands I have seen for sale contain manganese, a known dopamine cell killer.

I take the large dose of Coenzyme q10 at 1200 milligrams per day as per a study that showed no effect, i.e., no significant slowing of symptom progression, if the daily dose was less than that. A ten day supply at that dose is expensive at about 35 to 45 dollars for thirty(30) 400 milligram capsules.

I also take a large dose of Vitamin C at 3000 mg per day for its antioxidant properties.

I also take B6. Studies have suggested that Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is associated with lower rates of Parkinson's so I take 100 milligrams each day figuring it can't hurt.

I also take daily Ibuprofen. Ibuprofen has been shown to prevent Parkinson's and it might also slow mental decline as well so I take 200mg in the AM. Hopefully the healthy diet above provides the other essential vitamins and minerals.

This intake regimen when followed, gives me less daytime sleepiness, better night-time sleep, more energy, and significant improvement in my movement difficulties. Each time I get lazy and abandon the rules, which I have done several times, everything gets worse. That's enough proof for me.