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Is Sugar Bad For Parkinson’s Disease

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Dietary Considerations With Medications

Sugar cravings and Parkinson’s – Tips from a Registered Dietitian

Treatments are only effective in moderating the symptoms of the disease, mainly with drugs including levodopa and dopamine agonists. Once too many dopamine producing cells have been lost however, the effects of L-DOPA become less effective. Once this occurs, a complication known as dyskenesia commonly occurs in which subjects undergo involuntary writhing movements despite the use of L-DOPA. The effects of dyskenesia vary between periods of high symptoms and low symptoms. In order to limit the onset of dyskenesia, typical L-DOPA dosages are kept as low as possible while still achieving desired results. Lastly, in cases in which drugs are ineffective, deep brain stimulation and surgery can be used to reduce symptoms.

Levodopa is taken orally and is absorbed through the small intestines into the blood, competing for access with natural proteins. Additionally, once the drug has entered the blood stream, L-DOPA utilizes the same pathways to cross the blood brain barrier as natural protein. Only about 5 10% of levodopa crosses the blood brain barrier, while the remaining is metabolized elsewhere in the body. The metabolism of medications elsewhere is known to cause side effects such as nausea, dsykinesias, and stiffness.

Craving Tip #: Resolve Micronutrient Inadequacies

Sometimes, micronutrient deficiencies can lead to sugar cravings. Here are a few supplements have been shown to help with reducing those urges to run for the brownies:

  • High-quality B-complex

  • Chromium 200mg

  • Gymnema Sylvestre

  • High-quality probiotics or probiotic-containing foods

Remember that this does not mean you can never have refined sugar, it just means that we want to limit when possible to boost your brain health. Every now and again, sugar can be good for the soul!

Try to make small baby step goals to reduce your sugar intake this week. For example, if you have 2 scoops of ice cream every night, try to have 1 scoop every day instead. What is your goal for the week? Tell us in the comments below.

Managing Parkinsons: What To Eat And What Not To Eat

Parkinsons disease is a chronic illness that affects the section of brain responsible for movement. This central nervous system disorder generally affects muscle control and balance, causing a person to lose control over certain body functions. Each year in the U.S., approximately 60,000 people are diagnosed with PD. The condition develops when nerve cells in the brain do not produce sufficient amounts of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps control the brains pleasure centers. People with PD often experience unique nutritional challenges. Learn more about Parkinsons disease and how altering your diet can help you better manage your symptoms.

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What To Eat With Parkinsons Disease

  • Berries: Blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, and pomegranates are all high in powerful antioxidants.
  • Salmon, tuna, and sardines: These sources of fish are high in protein and heart-healthy omega-3s.
  • Green tea: A low-calorie beverage option high in antioxidants and phytochemicals.
  • Prunes: Prunes are high in fiber, antioxidants, potassium, and vitamin A, and can be a great prevention tool for constipation sufferers.
  • Ginger: Ginger root or candied ginger are useful for treating nausea which may be caused by PD itself or the medications used to treat it.
  • Chocolate: Chocolate can be a great treat for individuals with PD as it is rich in flavonoids and other antioxidants that help reduce stroke and cardiovascular disease.

Services To Help Those With Parkinsons

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While there is no specific diet for Parkinsons disease, it is important to maintain good overall health by eating a variety of foods. Individuals with PD may have trouble following a healthy diet. An in-home care agency can help prepare and serve nutritious meals, assist with feeding, and help with cleanup after meals. If you are a loved one is suffering from Parkinsons disease and require services, contact an in-home care agency today.

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Eating When Youre Tired

If you donât have energy for meals later in the day, you can:

Pick foods that are easy to fix, and save your energy for eating. If you live with your family, let them help you make your meal.

Look into a delivery service. Some grocery stores have them. Or you can check if you might be able to get food delivered from your local Meals on Wheels program for free or for a small fee.

Keep healthy snack foods on hand, like fresh fruit and vegetables or high-fiber cold cereals.

Freeze extra portions of what you cook so you have a quick meal when you feel worn out.

Rest before you eat so you can enjoy your meal. And eat your biggest meal early in the day to fuel yourself for later.

Tips For Getting Started

  • Changing your diet can be difficult. Try making one change at a time, like eating a handful of nuts a few times a week or avoiding white bread. Small changes can add up to big benefits.
  • Consult with a registered dietician, who can help you plan menus and make shopping lists for preparing nutritious meals that you like and that account for your individual needs and the timing of your medications.
  • Consult with an occupational therapist about assistive devices, including some mentioned above, to make eating and drinking easier.
  • If you experience anxiety or depression, talk to your doctor. These symptoms can suppress appetite.
  • If swallowing issues are causing problems eating , a speech-language pathologist may be able to help.

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Craving Tip #: Feed Your Good Gut Bacteria

Research shows us that good bacteria crave fiber and will literally tell your brain to eat more of it through the vagus nerve.

The opposite is true for sugar.

The more sugar you eat, the more bacteria you will grow that love sugar and will tell your brain to eat more.

You want to start to build up the bacteria that love fiber so they will begin to take over the sugar-loving bacteria. Fruits, veggies, whole grains, and probiotics are a great way to put in more of that fiber loving bacteria to curb sugar cravings.

Some good sources of probiotics*:

  • Sauerkraut

  • Kombucha

  • Yogurt

*If you are taking an MAO-B inhibitor, talk to your doctor before adding in fermented foods and probiotics.

Feeding Technique Of Parkinsons Patient

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There are five stages of Parkinsons disease and every stage affects the eating pattern of the patient to some extent.

Table 8 : Stages of progression of Parkinsons disease and its impact on eating pattern

Stages of PD
Loss of ability to perform any basic daily activity. The patient is in a wheelchair, Experience extreme stiffness and no balance. Unable to eat on his own, difficulty in chewing, swallowing

Early detection of the disease is always beneficial. It takes a few months to a few years to progress to stage 2. However, once the patient reaches stage 3, the rate of progression increases to many folds.

Symtoms that make the eating process challenging for PD patients

  • Dementia People often forget the normal food combination and food eating order
  • Constipation Unclear bowel movement may create gas, stomach pain, irritability, loss of appetite.
  • Difficulties in chewing The patient eats extremely slow and then gets too tired to finish the entire meal.
  • Difficulty in swallowing Choking of food is very common
  • Sleep attack Patient feel extremely sleepy all of a sudden and tend to miss meals
  • Hypotension Sudden fall in blood pressure also put the patient in a serious stage. Immediate intervention with saltwater or proper saline water is necessary

4 steps for constipation treatment at home

As per personal experience, following these points will be beneficial

  • Give simple food. Avoid foods which need skills to eat eg fish, chicken, drumstick, etc.

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How Is Parkinsons Disease Diagnosed

Parkinsons disease cannot be diagnosed with tests. Instead, a diagnosis is based on typical symptoms, medical history and how you fare with some physical exercises

You may referred to a specialist if your doctor suspects that you have Parkinsons, in which case a special brain scan may be carried out to differentiate Parkinsons from other diseases.

You should see your doctor as a matter of urgency if you believe you have any of the symptoms of Parkinsons.

Cravings Tip #: Swap In Healthier Dessert Options

Youll never be completely free from cravings. You are human after all!

This is why its a good idea to have some healthier alternatives prepared for when you need a sweet fix.

Indulge in a healthy amount, enjoy the experience, and then make sure your next meal follows the PP+FF formula from tip #1 above.

Here are two recipes to try instead of reaching for that tub of ice cream or plate of brownies.

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What Is The Microbiome

Your body houses a collection of microscopic organisms, called your microbiome, which includes trillions of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other microbes.

Most of your microbiome is found in your intestines and colon, also known as your gut, and these gut bugs do a lot!

Theyre responsible for digesting food, starting immune system responses, guard against infections, remove toxins from your body and produce a host of vitamins and neurotransmitters that are critical for daily function and health .

Your gut microbiome is as original as your fingerprint, but there are certain combinations of microbes that are the hallmarks of a healthy gut . Good and bad bacteria, for instance, are both found in a healthy gut but work in symphony. This is called gut symbiosis. Problems can surface when bad bacteria, fungi, viruses, or parasites disrupt this balance, often referred to as gut dysbiosis.

A disruption in the gut microbiota can cause the intestinal lining to break down, allowing toxins and other foreign substances to pass through the gut lining and into the bloodstream triggering a systemic inflammatory response. This breakdown of gut lining is referred to as leaky gut syndrome.

Your Diet And The Microbiome

Why Is Sugar Bad for You?

One of the big stories in medicine is the role of the gut microbiome in health and disease.

Several studies have found that people with PD have much lower levels of Prevotella species of bacteria a type thought to be good for maintaining gut health. They also have higher levels of bacteria associated with inflammation, which can be harmful.

How does that relate to your diet? What you eat affects which bacteria can thrive in your digestive system. Studies have shown that eating a Mediterranean, or whole-food plant-based diet, creates an environment where Prevotella and other healthy bacteria can flourish. Fiber and other components of whole plant foods and sometimes referred to as prebiotics because they feed the good bacteria in the gut, which may be beneficial for people with PD.

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The Latest In Nutrition And Parkinsons Disease

Eating well can help you take control of your health. In fact, choosing to eat healthy foods can improve your Parkinsons disease symptoms. And some research suggests that sound nutritional choices could have disease-modifying effects, meaning that they could potentially slow PD progression. Changing your eating habits can be a challenge, but there are many small adjustments you can make to your diet that will add up to big benefits. Learning about them is the first step.

The following article is based on the latest research and a Parkinsons Foundation Expert Briefings about nutrition, hosted by John E. Duda, M.D., from Philadelphia VA Parkinsons Disease Research, Education & Clinical Center .

Craving Tip #: Prioritize Sleep

Its well known that Parkinsons can wreck your sleep schedule, but prioritizing your sleep routine in an attempt to get a solid nights rest can go a long way in warding off sugar cravings.

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Frequency Of Food For Parkinsons Patient

Research suggests a restrictive diet has a positive impact on neurological diseases like Alzheimers and Parkinsons disease.

Keeping an eating window of 8 hrs, regular 16 hrs fasting seems to be helpful for better brain activity.

A Parkinsons patient can try to adopt intermittent fasting to improve the conditions. However, going slow will be definitely a smart move to make. Start with 12 hrs, i.e finish dinner by 8 pm and then break your fast next morning at 8. Gradually increase the fasting period to 13 hrs to 16 hrs.

You must remember to consume a balanced diet with adequate calories and nutrients during the 8 hrs of time.

If trying IF, you may have to take 3 square meals and let go of having snacks.

If the PD patient is having diabetes and hypertension, take the doctors and dieticians advice before practicing intermittent fasting.

If the patient is not comfortable with IF, try small frequent meals. If the patient has difficulty in swallowing/ eating and also having a sleeping disorder, trying small frequent meals would be a better choice.

For small frequent meals split the general 4 times food into 6-7 meals and follow a feeding chart to complete the feeding cycle. For example, divide the breakfast, lunch, and dinner into two small parts. So offer pre-breakfast snack followed by breakfast and same with lunch and dinner.

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Make sure you are comfortable at meal times. The following suggestions may help make it easier to eat:

  • Take your time and eat in a comfortable, quiet place.
  • If you feel you are taking too long and food is getting cold, consider eating smaller, more frequent meals and snacks, or food that is easier to eat.
  • You can buy heated plates to keep food warm for longer or consider serving smaller portions so that a second portion can be kept warm or reheated if its safe to do so.
  • Posture is important to trigger a good swallow. Try eating sitting upright in your chair.
  • Try planning your meals for when your medication is working. Avoid trying to eat large meals when you are ‘off’.
  • If you wear dentures try to ensure they fit comfortably. Ask for a review by your dentist if you are concerned.
  • Try to eat when you are less tired, this may mean moving your main meal to lunchtime rather than in the evening.

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Eat A Healthy Breakfast

The first meal of the day should be packed with nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants needed for gut healing and building a balanced gut microbiome. Eating brain-boosting foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, nuts, and seeds will also keep your blood sugar balanced so you have more energy throughout the day.

Aim to have the first meal of the day be the healthiest, and ride the wave of success the rest of the day!

Demographic And Clinical Characteristics

Demographic information pertaining to the cohort studied here has been reported previously . In summary, a total of 103 PD patients and 81 healthy controls completed the FFQ. Demographic, anthropometric, clinical and nutritional features of the study population are reported in Table 1.

Table 1. Cohort demographic and clinical characteristics.

The mean BMI of the combined cohort was 26.0 . PD patients were not underweight and their BMI did not differ significantly from HC . 5.5% of subjects reported a history of diabetes, with no statistically significant difference observed between the groups for this measure. More PD patients reported chronic pain over the preceding year than HC . PD patients were also more depressed, as measured by the Beck’s Depression Inventory . PD patients also reported more constipation, as measured by the Cleveland Constipation Score and Rome IV Criteria . Furthermore, PD patients reported more dyspepsia as measured by the Leeds Dyspepsia Questionnaire . Physical activity, assessed by the IPAQ, identified that PD patients undertook considerably less physical activity compared to the HC group . Further clinical characteristics of the PD cohort including the utilisation of standard and device assisted therapies, physical activity and frequency and severity of other non-motor symptoms are outlined in Table 2.

Table 2. Parkinson’s disease clinical characteristics.

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Craving Tip #: Seek Out Support Instead Of Sugar

Stress increases cortisol levels, which will send you straight for the ice cream! A Parkinsons diagnosis can be very stressful, making it even more important to have support to get you through the tougher days.

It is so important to have a support system – whether that be friends, family, and/or a good psychologist. Stuffing your feelings and frustrations down will only lead to more sugar cravings and feeling worse overall.

If your support network is lacking, make sure you have at least one stress-reducing strategy in your daily routine, such as meditation, journaling, art, prayer, deep breathing, or yoga.

Is Green Tea Good For Parkinsons

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Interestingly, some studies have observed that green tea, which is also high in antioxidants, helps slow the progression of Parkinsons disease and other neurodegenerative disorders, according to a review published in March 2016 in the journal CNS Neurological Disorders-Drug Targets. However, how the drink works to prevent these conditions and what constitutes the safest and most effective dose of green tea hasnt been determined.

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