A Parkinson’s Diet: What To Eat And Avoid

A Parkinson's Diet What to Eat and Avoid

Last updated on September 4th, 2023 at 08:40 pm

Parkinson's disease is a medical condition that affects movement and is caused by problems in the nervous system. Although there is no known cure for Parkinson's, there are treatments available that can help manage the symptoms. In this article, we will discuss some Parkinson's Diet for you.

Diet plays an important role in managing Parkinson's symptoms, and a well-balanced and healthy diet is recommended for those with the disease. This should include whole grains, lean protein, fruits, and vegetables, as these foods provide essential nutrients that can improve overall health and well-being and also help manage common symptoms like constipation, fatigue, and difficulty swallowing.

People with Parkinson's may need to adjust their diet by eating smaller, more frequent meals, and staying hydrated is a great help. It's important to seek the advice of a qualified healthcare professional or dietitian to discuss individual Parkinson's diets.

Parkinson's Symptoms

Parkinson's disease is a condition that worsens gradually over time due to the degeneration of neurons that produce dopamine in the brain. Since dopamine plays a vital role in controlling movement, the loss of these neurons leads to the well-known symptoms of Parkinson's disease. The symptoms vary from person to person, but the most common ones are tremors, stiffness, slowness of movement, and difficulty with balance and coordination. Other symptoms include changes in speech and writing, difficulty swallowing, and a reduced sense of smell. While people commonly associate Parkinson's disease with older adults, it can affect individuals of any age.

Treatments For Parkinson's

Parkinson's disease does not have a cure at present, but there are various treatments accessible to manage the symptoms and enhance the quality of life. These treatments can sometimes encompass drugs, physical therapy, and surgery.

It's crucial to realize that Parkinson's disease is a progressive ailment, which signifies that its symptoms will deteriorate as more dopamine-producing neurons perish over time. Therefore, early diagnosis and treatment are indispensable for managing the condition and decelerating its progression.

It is important to mention that while Parkinson's disease is mainly associated with movement-related issues, it can also impact other areas of a person's well-being. Further research shows individuals diagnosed with Parkinson's disease may have a higher likelihood of experiencing depression, anxiety, and cognitive decline.

What To Eat If You Have Parkinson's

Individuals with Parkinson's disease must maintain a healthy and nutritious diet to improve their overall health and well-being. Including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean protein in their diet can provide them with the essential nutrients required for their body.

Certain modifications in the diet can also help alleviate some of the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Here are some recommended diet types and recipes that can be beneficial for individuals with Parkinson's disease.

Food Groups To Focus On

    • Fruits And Vegetables

      Fruits and vegetables are good sources of antioxidants, which can help protect the brain from damage.

    • Whole Grains

      Whole grains are a good source of fiber, which can help improve digestion and reduce constipation.

    • Lean Protein

      Lean protein can help maintain muscle mass and improve energy levels.

    • Nuts And Seeds

      Nuts and seeds are a good source of healthy fats, which can help improve brain function.

    • Healthy Fats

      Healthy fats, such as those found in olive oil, avocados, and nuts, can help improve brain function and reduce inflammation.

1. Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean Diet-Parkinson's Diet

This Parkinson's Diet emphasizes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats such as olive oil and fatty fish. Studies have shown that a Mediterranean diet may help with weight loss, reduce inflammation and improve brain function.


    • Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Mix in chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, olives, feta cheese, and a dressing made with olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic.

    • Baked Salmon With Lemon And Herbs

Preheat oven to 375°F. Place salmon fillets in a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with lemon zest, chopped herbs such as dill or parsley, and salt and pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

2. DASH Diet


The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet focuses on more protein intake, reducing sodium intake, and increasing foods high in potassium, magnesium, and calcium. This diet may help reduce blood pressure and improve heart health.


    • Slow-Cooker Beef Stew

Brown beef cubes in a pan. Add to a slow cooker with diced carrots, celery, onion, garlic, potatoes, low-sodium beef broth, diced tomatoes, and a bay leaf. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

    • Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges

Cut sweet potatoes into wedges. Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried herbs such as thyme or rosemary. Roast in the oven at 400°F for 20-25 minutes.

3. Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Anti-inflammatory Diet

This Parkinson's Diet focuses on reducing foods that may cause inflammation in the body, such as processed foods and sugar. It emphasizes whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, nuts, and seeds.


    • Turmeric Chicken Stir-Fry

Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. Cook in a pan with olive oil, garlic, ginger, and turmeric until browned. Add sliced bell peppers, broccoli florets, and snow peas. Cook until vegetables are tender.

    • Berry Smoothie Bowl

Blend frozen mixed berries with almond milk until smooth. Pour into a bowl and top with sliced banana, chopped nuts, and chia seeds.

In addition, a few specific foods may be especially beneficial for people with Parkinson's disease.

Specific Foods Beneficial For People With Parkinson's Disease Include:

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids

    Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, oysters, and anchovies, can help improve brain function and reduce inflammation.

Omega-3 fatty acids-Parkinson's Diet

  • Fava Beans

    Fava beans are being studied as a potential natural remedy for Parkinson's disease due to their high concentration of L-dopa, a chemical that helps increase dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that regulates movement and is commonly deficient in Parkinson's patients. Fava beans have up to ten times more L-dopa than other beans and are transformed into dopamine in the brain upon ingestion, which may alleviate some of the motor symptoms associated with Parkinson's.

Fava Beans-Parkinson's Diet

  • Green Tea

Green tea contains antioxidants that can help protect the brain from damage, which is good for Parkinson's Diet.

  •  Curcumin

Curcumin, a compound found in turmeric, has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may be beneficial for people with Parkinson's disease.

Curcumin-Parkinson's Diet

  • Flavonoids

Flavonoids, found in fruits, vegetables, and nuts, have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may be beneficial for people with Parkinson's disease.


  • Foods That Contain Iron, Vitamin B1, Vitamin C, And Vitamin D.

Research suggests that individuals with Parkinson's disease may experience various nutrient deficiencies, such as vitamin B1, vitamin C, zinc, iron, and vitamin D. Therefore, it is recommended to incorporate foods that are rich in these vitamins into your diet.

These types of diets, along with eating foods with their specific recipes, can be helpful for individuals with Parkinson's Disease as they have the potential to reduce inflammation and enhance brain function, among other benefits. However, it is crucial to remember that each person's nutritional requirements may differ depending on their medical history and medications. Therefore, it is crucial to seek advice from a doctor or registered dietitian before making any significant changes to one's diet.

What To Avoid

When it comes to Parkinson's disease, certain foods in your Parkinson's Diet should be avoided or limited. Some of these foods include:

1. High-Fat Foods 

High-fat foods

High-fat foods can be difficult for the body to digest, leading to constipation in people with Parkinson's disease. Additionally, high dietary fat intake has been linked to an increased risk of developing Parkinson's disease.

    • High-Fat Foods Can Worsen Symptoms

Some studies have shown that people with Parkinson's who consume a high-fat diet are more likely to experience tremors, rigidity, and other movement problems.

    • High-Fat Foods Can Interfere With Medication

Some medications used to treat Parkinson's can be absorbed less effectively if taken with a high-fat meal.

    • High-Fat Foods Can Lead To Weight Gain

Weight gain is a common problem for people with Parkinson's, and it can worsen some of the symptoms of the disease.

For these reasons, people with Parkinson's need to limit their intake of high-fat foods. This includes foods high in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. Instead, people with Parkinson's should focus on consuming a healthy diet of foods rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean protein.

2. Processed Foods 

Processed Foods

Processed foods or canned foods are often high in sodium, leading to dehydration and exacerbating symptoms such as tremors and muscle stiffness.

    • Processed Foods Are Often High In Saturated Fats

Saturated fats can increase inflammation in the body, worsening Parkinson's symptoms this is why this is avoided in your Parkinson's Diet.

    • Processed Foods Are Often Low In Fiber

Fiber is important for gut health, and a healthy gut is essential for overall health and well-being. People with Parkinson's disease are more likely to have gut problems, so eating plenty of fiber-rich foods is important.

    • Processed Foods Often Contain Artificial Ingredients

These ingredients have not been studied extensively in people with Parkinson's disease, so it's unclear how they may affect symptoms. However, some studies have shown that artificial ingredients can worsen inflammation.

    • Processed Foods Are Often High In Sugar

 Sugar can increase inflammation and impair gut health. It can also lead to weight gain, which can strain the body and worsen Parkinson's symptoms. In addition, processed foods are often low in nutrients and calories. This can lead to weight gain, which can worsen Parkinson's symptoms.

3. Sugary Foods 

Sugary Foods

Sugary foods can spike high blood pressure and sugar levels, leading to fatigue and worsening symptoms such as tremors and muscle stiffness.

    • Sugar Can Increase Inflammation In The Body

Inflammation is a common problem in people with Parkinson's disease and can worsen symptoms. Sugar can also lead to weight gain, which can strain the body and worsen symptoms.

    • Sugar Can Impair Gut Health

The gut is important for overall health and well-being, especially for people with Parkinson's disease. Sugar can damage the gut lining and impair the gut's ability to absorb nutrients.

    • Sugar Can Lead To Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body's cells become less responsive to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body use glucose for energy. When cells become resistant to insulin, glucose levels in the blood can rise. This can lead to several health problems, including type 2 diabetes.

    • Sugar Can Worsen Motor Symptoms

Some people with Parkinson's disease report that eating sugary foods worsens their motor symptoms. This is thought to be because sugar can increase inflammation in the brain, which can worsen motor symptoms.

If you have Parkinson's disease, limiting your intake of sugary foods is best. Instead, focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods that are low in sugar. These foods can be added to your Parkinson's Diet and are better for your overall health and well-being and may help improve your Parkinson's symptoms.

4. Alcohol 


Alcohol can interact with medications used to treat Parkinson's disease, leading to drowsiness, dizziness, and other side effects.

This worsens Parkinson's symptoms by affecting the nervous system, which controls movement and balance. It increases the risk of falls and injuries. Medications used to manage Parkinson's symptoms are processed in the liver and can interact harmfully with alcohol. Therefore, people with Parkinson's should avoid alcohol. Important facts: Alcohol exacerbates Parkinson's symptoms, increases the risk of falls and injuries, and can interfere with medication effectiveness.

Alcohol can make non-motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease, like depression, anxiety, and sleep problems worse. While moderate drinking can help with some health issues, it's not recommended for people with Parkinson's. It's important to talk to a healthcare professional to create a plan for managing symptoms while reducing risks associated with alcohol consumption.

5. Caffeine Consumption 

Caffeine Consumption

While caffeine can help boost energy levels, it can also worsen symptoms such as tremors and muscle stiffness.

Caffeine is a stimulant that blocks adenosine receptors in the brain. Adenosine is a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep, so blocking its receptors can make it difficult to fall asleep. Caffeine can also worsen the symptoms of Parkinson's disease by increasing dopamine levels. This can cause involuntary movements and overstimulation, which can be harmful.

People with Parkinson's disease are already more likely to experience sleep disturbances, such as insomnia or frequent waking at night. Caffeine can aggravate these problems, making it even harder to fall asleep or stay asleep. This can lead to a vicious cycle where poor sleep quality worsens Parkinson's symptoms, making it even harder to sleep.

Here are some additional tips for people with Parkinson's disease who are trying to reduce their caffeine intake:

    • Read Food Labels Carefully

Caffeine is found in many foods and beverages, including coffee, tea, soda, chocolate, and energy drinks.

    • Be Mindful Of Your Portion Sizes

Even small amounts of caffeine can significantly affect people with Parkinson's disease.

    • Switch To Decaffeinated Beverages

There are many delicious decaffeinated coffees, teas, and sodas available.

    • Try Herbal Teas

Many herbal teas can help promote relaxation and improve sleep quality.

    • Talk To Your Doctor

They can help you create a personalized plan to reduce your caffeine intake and manage your Parkinson's symptoms.

Other Dietary Considerations

A. Eating Regular Meals

Eating regular meals and snacks throughout the day is important to keep blood sugar levels stable.

B. Cook At Home

Cooking at home more often gives you more control over the ingredients in your food.

C. Read Food Labels

Reading food labels carefully can help you choose foods that are lower in unhealthy fats, sugar, and sodium.

D. Be Mindful Of Your Portion Sizes

Being mindful of your portion sizes can help you avoid overeating.

If you are struggling to make healthy changes to your diet, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian.

Healthy Lifestyle

There are many lifestyle choices that people with Parkinson's disease can make to improve their quality of life.

Some of these choices include:

  • Exercise Regularly

Exercise can help improve balance, coordination, and mobility, as well as reduce stiffness and fatigue. It can also help improve mood and sleep quality.

  • Eat A Healthy Diet

A healthy diet can help improve overall health and well-being and may also help slow the progression of Parkinson's disease. A healthy diet includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.

  • Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is essential for everyone, but it is especially important for people with Parkinson's disease. Sleep helps to repair the brain and body, and it can also help improve mood and energy levels.

  • Manage Stress

Stress can worsen Parkinson's symptoms, so it is important to find ways to manage stress. Some helpful stress management techniques include relaxation exercises, yoga, and meditation.

  • Stay Connected With Others

Social interaction can help improve mood and well-being, and it can also provide support during difficult times. There are many ways to stay connected with others, such as joining a support group, volunteering, or spending time with friends and family.

  • Take Care Of Yourself

This includes taking your medications as prescribed, getting regular checkups, and making sure to see a dentist and eye doctor regularly. It is also important to take care of your mental health. If you are struggling with depression or anxiety, talk to your doctor.

Making lifestyle and dietary changes can be challenging, but it is important to remember that you are not alone. There are many resources available to help you, including your doctor, a registered dietitian, and support groups. With a little effort, you can make changes that will make a big difference in your life.


Currently, there are several unknowns in the link between diet and Parkinson's' disease progression. Nevertheless, studies have indicated that adopting a healthy eating regimen can enhance symptoms, decelerate the advancement of the disease, and lower the chances of acquiring secondary symptoms.

Parkinson's disease can be tough to deal with, but there are numerous ways to handle its symptoms and better your lifestyle. One crucial aspect is maintaining a healthy diet. While there's no universal diet for individuals with Parkinson's disease, consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats can both manage symptoms and enhance your overall health and well-being.

It can be challenging to modify your diet, but you are not alone, and there are numerous resources accessible to assist you, including your physician, a registered dietitian, and support groups. With some dedication, you can make changes that will significantly impact your symptoms and overall quality of life. It's crucial not to give up, as Parkinson's disease can be tough to deal with. However, it's not impossible to live a full and active life with the proper support.

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