The Parkinson’s diet pyramid has been modified from the Mediterranean diet and is meant to be a informational guide only. Do not change your diet without a discussion with your healthcare provider.
Fruits and Vegetables
Set your goal to eat 8-10 servings daily. This goal is one of the most important ones you can make for PD and nerve cell health.
- High in antioxidants needed to maintain healthy body and brain cells. No single antioxidant is best. Eat a variety of antioxidants will best protect against oxidative stress. Download the Antioxidant Worksheet located in the My Wellness section found with other worksheets in My Wellness.
- High in vitamins and minerals
- High in fiber for colon health and to reduce constipation
- Carbohydrates for energy
Select vegetable protein as your major source, followed by fish, dairy/substitute, and then meat.
- Vegetable protein- beans, nuts, seeds.
- Low in saturated fat means better heart and brain health.
- High in fiber means better colon health and reduced constipation.
- Less interference with levodopa absorption than animal protein.
- Fish and Seafood.
- Lower in saturated fat.
- Cold water fish high in omega 3 ‘good fats’ for a healthy heart and brain (salmon, sardines, halibut, tuna).
Dairy or dairy substitute
Source of calcium important for strong bones.
- Choose low-fat milk to reduce intake of saturated fat.
- A study suggest dairy products increase the risk of Parkinson’s but importantly do not change progression once diagnosed.
Source of energy. Improved glucose control means better health and perhaps better aging!
- Whole grains are better than premade processed foods.
- Choose starch vegetables, beans, and whole grains.
- High in fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants
- Limit processed sugars high in fat and refined sugar that will lead to fluctuations in energy levels and fatigue.
Needed to prevent dehydration, low blood pressure and dizziness.
- Water- makes up 70% of our body
- Helps with constipation.
- Fruit and vegetable juices are good choices but high in sugar and salt
- Green and white tea are high in anti-oxidants (consider decaffeinated)
- Avoid soda (regular high in sugar, diet high in artificial sweeteners)
Small amount and the right kinds are good.
- Good fats- Omega 3s. Salmon, sardines, flax seed oil, walnuts.
- Olive oil instead of other cooking or salad oils.
Important for colon health and constipation. Comes from many sources but many of us have trouble getting enough.
- Fruits, vegetables
- Nuts, seeds
- Whole grains and oats
Spices and Extras
Flavorful spices will reduce your need for sugar and fat for taste.
- Green tea
- Turmeric, garlic, cinnamon.
One glass red wine contains the powerful antioxidant resveratrol. Cautions in PD include:
- Can interact with Parkinson’s medicine
- Worsens balance, lightheadedness and confusion.
- Get health benefits of wine by drinking nonalcoholic red wine or 100% purple grape juice
Eat sparingly. Many people with Parkinson’s have a sweet tooth. If you do not have diabetes, it is OK to enjoy sweets but sparingly. If you take in too many calories with sweets you do not get the vitamins, minerals and nutrients you need for health.
- Fruit dessert and fruit smoothies made with real fruit will help you get your extra fruit servings.
- Antioxidant flavonoids in dark chocolate (must be >70% cocoa)
- Good for mood too!
- Key is moderation
Talk to your doctor about vitamins and supplements.
- Fiber supplement
- Fish oil
- Coenzyme Q10
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B12