How often have you thought about changing your diet to see if it makes a difference for your Parkinson’s Disease symptoms? And how long did it take you before you actually made the change? It is so easy to take pills and supplements, to exercise, go to physical therapy. The last thing many of us even consider is making a true lifestyle change and committing to a healthier diet. And actually sticking to it.
When I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 8 years ago, I swore that I was going to change my diet. Of course, that never happened. We travel a lot, so having the discipline for a healthy diet can be difficult. However, several months ago, a 4 day long anniversary celebration in Chicago nearly did me in. Too much food, especially carbs and sweet desserts, along with more drinking than usual (2 glasses of wine a week is a lot for me) hit me hard. I paid for it for several days and decided that maybe now it was finally the time to make the change.
For the next month, my husband and I decided that sweets were off of our diet. No more cookies, ice cream and other sweets That was it for now. No fancy diets, just good food, with lots of fresh veggies. We did not eliminate all sources of sugar, just the obvious ones. We ate fruit for dessert and handfuls of almonds if the munchies hit. After a few days we didn’t miss the sweets and our snacking decreased. We both felt better within a week and even dropped a few pounds.
I don’t know if this has helped my symptoms, but I do feel better overall. A month after we started this, we went on a weeklong trip to Ireland with friends. We found that we were eating fewer sweets in general while on the trip. Now that we are back home, we need to be more careful once again about what we eat. Cutting out desserts is a small first step and relatively easy to do.
With all of the recent studies about the gut-brain connection for PD, there has been one consistent finding- sugar feeds the bacteria in the gut which in turn, may increase PD symptoms. Some even say that there is a connection between Diabetes and PD. Do an internet search and hundreds of articles will pop up immediately. One thing most have in common is that PwP’s seem to crave sugar more than before PD. Most recommend making a major change in your diet to cut back on the sugar.
I know that there are diet recommendations out there specifically for Parkinson’s Disease. Has anyone tried a specific diet that helped relieve your symptoms or slowed the progression? I am interested to hear what works for you.