Monthly Archives: September 2012

Top 10 Foods for Parkinson’s (and counting!)


The following are a list of top 10 foods for PD and the reason(s) why:

1. Water – Be sure to get your fluids to prevent dehydration, low blood pressure and improve constipation- all potential problems in PD.

2. Prunes – “Not just for grandma”. High in antioxidants, fiber, vitamin A and potassium plus effectively treats constipation.

3. Salmon, sardines and tuna – Packs a “big punch” for protein plus high in heart healthy omega 3s. Eating sardines with the bones adds calcium. Be careful how much tuna you eat in one week due to accumulation of mercury.

4. Berries – Pomegranates, cranberries, blueberries, blackberries. All high in antioxidants.

5. Broccoli – “Your mom was right- eat your broccoli”. Source of antioxidants and a high source of fiber, vitamin C, calcium, iron and magnesium for a vegetable.

6. Green Tea – Great source of phytochemicals that serve as antioxidant and a way to get your fluids too. A source of anti-oxidants for those wanting low (no) calorie options.

7. Chocolate! – Cocoa, rich in flavinoids and other antioxidants, may reduce the risk of cardiovascular and stroke disease. Dark chocolate is highest in cocoa (choose brads with >70% cocoa). Cocoa may also increase brain serotonin a chemical that modulates mood. Beware that processed chocolate is high in fat and processed sugars so not good for everyone. Moderation is key!

8. Ginger – Ginger has been used for centuries to treat nausea and research is proving its value for treatment of nausea during chemotherapy or with motion sickness. Ginger can help the nausea caused by dopaminergic medicines to treat PD. Using ginger root or candied ginger is one way to insure you are getting the real product as the purity of supplements is not regulated.

9. Papaya – Fruit not only high in antioxidants but may also contains an enzyme papain that can thin thick saliva. (Meat tenderizer made from papaya root mixed with water also helps).

10. Oatmeal – Easy to swallow, easy to prepare, high in fiber, and low in calories. This food is a low protein option for breakfast (high protein can reduce Ldopa absorption) also promotes heart health, may reduce cholesterol.

Submit your own Top Foods and the reasons why to expand this list!

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Filed under Nutrition, Vitamins and Supplements

How can I prevent dizziness?


Dizziness can have multiple causes in Parkinson’s.  Most common, is low blood pressure, specifically a drop in blood pressure with standing a condition caused orthostatic hypotension.  People of use the term dizziness to describe many different problems. The term dizziness is also used to describe a sense of imbalance when standing or walking, vertigo or sense of motion caused by inner ear or vestibular problems and a lack of mental clarity.

Low blood pressure can cause dizziness, ‘passing out’, fatigue, walking problems, and thinking problems.

Dizziness due to orthostatic hypotension can be treated. Most of these treatments work by increasing the volume of blood in your circulatory system, increasing blood pressure and optimizing heart function.

  • Review your medicines with your healthcare provider. Some dopaminergic medicines such as dopaminergic agonists can lower blood pressure.
  • Avoid dehydration. Dehydration reduces blood volume and blood pressure. Drink plenty of water especially when exercising and in hot climate.
  • Add salt to diet to increase the amount of fluid retained in your circulatory system. Always talk to your doctor or healthcare provider before making any change in diet especially if you have heart or kidney disease.
  • Find the cause of and treat anemia(low red blood cell count) diagnosed by blood tests that measure the amount of red blood cells. Nutrition deficits, alcohol abuse, low iron levels, low vitamin B12 and bleeding are some of the common causes of anemia.
  • Take your time when getting up.  Waiting a few seconds for your circulation and blood pressure to recover when standing will reduce symptoms of dizziness when standing.
  • Avoid increases in intra-abdominal pressure as this pressure is transmitted to the circulatory system and thus reduces the return of blood flow to the heart. Abdominal pressure is increased with stooping or squatting or while ‘bearing down’ for instance during exercise or when having bowel movement.
  • Try elastic stockings.   These stockings extend to the knee or waist.  The pressure they place on your legs keeps fluid from leaking out of the blood vessels and into the tissue.  Some people with movement and coordination problems have trouble getting these on or off. Ask your doctor for a prescription to occupational therapy if you are having trouble getting these on.
  • Keep your feet elevated when sitting to limit leg swelling and pooling of fluid at your feet.
  • Pump your legs and ankles when sitting. This muscle activity massages the lymph vessels and veins in your legs helping your circulation return blood flow to the heart.
  • Sleep with the head  higher than your heart by placing a wedge under your mattress of elevating the head of your bed by placing a lift under the legs at the head of bed.
  • Medicines are available if needed to increase blood pressure.  These medicines must be used with caution as they can cause electrolyte problems and high blood pressure.
  • A cardiac or heart evaluation may sometimes be needed to insure heart health and optimal cardiac output (the amount of blood pumped from the heart into the circulation.)

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Filed under Non-movement Symptoms, Self-Care