How do you maintain a healthy diet?

A healthy diet with plenty of water is the foundation for good health, regardless of whether or not you have PD. However, for those with PD, it is even more important. The reason why it is so critical for those with PD is that healthy eating can help keep your bones strong, thus decreasing the likelihood of a fracture if you fall. It also helps you fight constipation, which is common with PD.

The following are a few guidelines for healthy eating:

  • Eat a variety of foods to get the energy, protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber you need for good health.
  • Balance the food you eat with physical activity.
  • Maintain or improve your weight to reduce chances of having high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, certain cancers and most common types of diabetes.
  • Choose a diet with plenty of grain products, vegetables, and fruits, which provide vitamins, minerals, fiber, and complex carbohydrates and which can help you lower your intake of fat.
  • Choose a diet low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol to reduce your risk of heart attack, certain types of cancer, and to help you maintain a healthy weight.
  • People with PD often lose weight without meaning to, due to nausea, loss of appetite, depression, and slowed movement. Unplanned weight loss together with malnutrition can lead to an weakened immune system, muscle wasting, loss of vital nutrients and risk for other diseases.
  • Reduce your sugar intake! A diet with lots of sugar can have too many calories and too few nutrients. It can also contribute to tooth decay.
  • Reduce how much salt and sodium you eat to help reduce your risk of high blood pressure.
  • Drink alcoholic beverages in moderation as they have empty calories and little to no nutrients. Drinking alcohol can also cause many health problems and accidents.

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Medical content reviewed by: Nina Browner, MD—Medical Director of the NPF Center of Excellence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in North Carolina and by Fernando Pagan, MD—Medical Director of the NPF Center of Excellence at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C.

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