While there’s no food or combination of foods proven to help in Parkinson’s Disease (PD), some foods may help ease some of the symptoms. For example, eating foods high in fiber and drinking an adequate amount of fluids can help prevent constipation that is common in PD. A balanced diet also provides nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, that may be beneficial for people with PD.
Exercise and Yoga
Exercising may increase your muscle strength, flexibility and balance. Exercise can also improve your well-being and reduce depression or anxiety.
Yoga can help to improve your posture and balance. The trunk exercises can help to prevent excessive stooping and make the body more agile. Gait training by an expert can also assist in improving balance and avoiding falls.
Some of the suggestions that may help:
- Try not to move too quickly.
- Aim for your heel to strike the floor first when you are walking.
- If you notice yourself shuffling, stop and check your posture. It’s best to stand up straight.
- Look in front of you, not directly down, while walking.
Meditation along with yoga can improve the sense of well being, concentration and memory function. It also involves various forms of breathing exercises beneficial to the patient.
In the later stages of the disease, you may fall more easily. The following suggestions may help:
- Make a U-turn instead of a sharp turn
- Distribute your weight evenly between both feet and don’t lean. Avoid carrying things while you walk
- Avoid walking backward
- Avoid carrying things while you walk
Daily living activities
Daily living activities — such as dressing, eating, bathing and writing — can be difficult for people with PD. An occupational therapist can show you techniques that make daily life easier.
Frequent falls, gait disturbances etc. can lead to increased morbidity in PD patients. Occupational therapists can help by providing various physical aids and solutions for the same. This include installing “grab bars” in the house, a chair lift, handrails in the bathroom etc. This reduces the dependence of the patient on the caretaker, making him more independent.
A speech therapist can help people with the disease improve swallowing and can recommend changes in diet for patients with advanced problems swallowing. Speech therapists can also help patients with muffled or slurred speech, a hoarse voice and other speech problems speak more clearly and comfortably.
People with PD do not need to eat a specific diet, but getting enough calories and nutrients will help maintain bone, muscle and strength. People having problems with weight loss or poor appetite or eating may benefit from seeing a dietician. Certain changes in diet can also help some people. For example: protein in a meal can reduce the effect of levodopa-carbidopa in some patients. Drinking enough water and eating a high-fiber diet—including whole grains, fruits and vegetables—can help ease constipation.
Music or art therapy may help you to relax. Music therapy helps some people with Parkinson’s disease to improve their walking and speech. Participating in artistic activities, such as painting or ceramics, may help in improving your mood and help you relax. “Tai Chi”, an ancient form of Chinese exercise, slow, flowing motions that may improve flexibility, balance and muscle strength. Tai Chi may also prevent falls.