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6 Foods Seniors with Parkinson’s Should Avoid

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Almost one million American adults live with Parkinson’s disease. Researchers continue to try to determine the underlying causes of the neurodegenerative disorder. However, as of yet, the progress of learning new information remains limited. There are several foods seniors with Parkinson’s can add to their diet for nutritional benefit. However, there are also some foods they should avoid.

1. Dairy Products

Dairy products are thought to encourage free radicals that cause oxidative stress. Consuming dairy foods may then exacerbate Parkinson’s symptoms by contributing to inflammation and cellular degeneration. Calcium and vitamin D are essential for preventing osteoporosis and ensuring cardiovascular and nerve cell health. Instead of eating cheeses or drinking milk, seniors might want to consider taking an oral calcium supplement.

2. Saturated Fats

A diet high in saturated fats raises cholesterol levels, which poses a risk of endangering cardiovascular health. High-fat diets also have the potential for adding excess weight, which puts added strain on the central nervous system. Seniors with limited mobility secondary to the disease process also raise the risk of gaining excess weight if they have an unhealthy diet. Seniors with Parkinson’s should especially avoid fried or processed foods containing saturated fats.

3. Protein-Rich Foods

Protein remains an essential dietary nutrient for encouraging the growth and maintenance of cells and tissues. However, consuming protein-rich foods before or after taking Parkinson’s medications interferes with the body’s ability to adequately absorb the drugs. Some older adults are advised to limit fish, meat, and poultry intake to the evening meal to prevent medication interactions. Seniors should take their medications on an empty stomach at least 60 minutes before eating. 

If seniors take medications that require careful consideration of what they eat and when, they may benefit from a trained professional who can help them keep track of those elements and more. In Colorado Springs, at-home care providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

4. Fava Beans

Legumes are a good source of fiber and protein. However, they might also pose a risk for seniors with Parkinson’s. Fava beans are known to contain a natural type of levodopa, which may cause an accidental overdose when combined with prescription medications. Kidney beans, navy beans, peas, and other lentils are safer alternatives. 

It can be a challenge for seniors to keep track of dietary restrictions and medications while managing other health issues, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Colorado Springs seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.

5. Sweet Foods and Beverages

Foods high in sugar or similar compounds add flavor to beverages and foods. However, sugar compounds also add calories that are void of nutrition, which poses a risk of gaining unwanted weight. Sugar is also known to encourage inflammation, which is something seniors with Parkinson’s should avoid. Filling up on sweetened foods leaves little room for healthier alternatives. As seniors with Parkinson’s often have appetite problems, sticking with healthier foods is vital.

6. Citrus Fruits and Juices

Nausea is a common issue affecting seniors with Parkinson’s. Citrus fruits and juices add to the problem due to their high acidity levels. Seniors should instead consume fresh fruits or juices made using antioxidant-rich berries, mangoes, papaya, or watermelon. These fruits are also beneficial for the cardiovascular system and provide a wealth of vitamin C, which the immune system needs.

Seniors with Parkinson’s can boost the quality of their health and diminish the effects of some of their symptoms by making some dietary adjustments, and some may need help planning a nutritious diet that suits their individual health needs. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elderly home care Colorado Springs, CO, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. If you need professional care for your senior loved one, Home Care Assistance is just a phone call away. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (719) 822-1229.