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How do I maintain a healthy diet?

People with Parkinson’s have some common nutritional issues. The following guidelines can help to keep your bones strong, fight constipation and weight loss and maintain general health and fitness.

  • Avoid “fad” diets. Eat food from all food groups, following guidelines of the US Department of Agriculture MyPlate program. Eating a variety of foods will help you get the energy, protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber you need for good health.
  • Choose a diet with plenty of grain products, vegetables and fruits, which provide vitamins, minerals, fiber and complex carbohydrates and 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 and certain types of cancer, and to help you maintain a healthy weight.
  • 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 your salt and sodium intake to help reduce your risk of high blood pressure.
  • Incorporate foods high in antioxidants (which are important for overall brain health) into your diet. These include brightly colored and dark fruits and vegetables.
  • Balance the food you eat with physical activity.
  • Maintain a healthy weight to reduce chances of having high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, certain cancers and most common types of diabetes. Your doctor can help you determine what a health weight means for you.
  • Drink alcoholic beverages in moderation, as they have empty calories and few (or no) nutrients. Drinking alcohol can also cause many health problems and accidents and may not be advisable if you are taking certain medications. Check with your doctor.

Involve your team

Seek reliable information about diet and nutrition from your medical team and local resources. For help finding a registered dietician near you, contact the NPF Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636). You can also order your free copy of Nutrition Matters and visit our Ask about Nutrition forum.


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