Foods Aging Adults with Parkinson’s Disease Need to Avoid

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Parkinson’s disease is linked to a dopamine deficit in the body. Because of this deficit, seniors with Parkinson’s should eat foods that increase dopamine production and avoid foods that exacerbate Parkinson’s symptoms. Learn more about which foods aging adults with Parkinson’s should avoid.

Dairy

Research suggests seniors with Parkinson’s should try to minimize their dairy intake, which means cutting down their consumption of milk, yogurt, and cheese. While researchers aren’t quite sure why dairy is bad for seniors with Parkinson’s, foods and beverages with high dairy content seem to impact the brain’s oxidation levels, which can increase the persistence of common Parkinson’s symptoms. Seniors who cut down on dairy may want to add a calcium supplement to their daily medication roster. Dairy products are one of the main sources of bone-strengthening calcium, and seniors with Parkinson’s need an adequate daily dose of calcium if they want to remain mobile.

Boosting physical health is essential for aging adults with Parkinson’s to accomplish daily tasks at home. There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional senior care. Green Valley families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place.

Protein and Levodopa

Many seniors with Parkinson’s use the prescription medication levodopa, a protein building block that restores dopamine levels. Because of its protein building mechanisms, its ability decreases if it’s taken at the same time as a protein-filled meal is eaten. To maximize the absorbency of levodopa, seniors should take it on an empty stomach, which helps it reach the small intestine quickly. If this makes seniors nauseous, they can take their medication with a high-carb snack like crackers, which shouldn’t interfere with absorption. Seniors with Seniors with Parkinson’s should still consume a healthy amount of protein, as it promotes healthy muscles and bones. They should just time it so it doesn’t interfere with their medication. Many experts recommend saving the daily allotment of protein for dinner, by which time the levodopa has fully absorbed.

Saturated Fats

As with dairy products, experts disagree about the precise impact saturated fats have on seniors with Parkinson’s. However, most agree they provide no health benefits for seniors with Parkinson’s. Foods high in saturated fats, such as fried meats, butter, pork, and whole-fat milk, raise cholesterol levels and blood pressure. They also negatively impact metabolism. These sorts of harmful metabolic effects can undermine Parkinson’s treatment plans.

Parkinson’s care is a continuous process, and some seniors require extra support every day to lead a comfortable life. If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of Green Valley at-home care. Our caregivers provide transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping.

MAO-B Inhibitors and Tyramine

MAO-B inhibitors, such as rasagiline and selegiline, are another common type of medication prescribed to seniors with Parkinson’s. These medications work by inhibiting enzymes that break down dopamine, prolonging the actions of dopamine in the brain. While this relieves Parkinson’s symptoms, MAO-B inhibitors also increase the body’s supply of an amino acid called tyramine. When seniors who take these medications also eat foods rich in the amino acid, it can raise blood pressure, which is why seniors who use rasagiline or selegiline should only consume tyramine-rich foods in moderation. These foods include meats and fish that have been cured or air dried, as well as aged cheeses like Camembert and Swiss. Seniors with Parkinson’s should also avoid fermented cabbage, soybean products, beer, and red wine.

Family caregivers should encourage their loved ones to follow a healthy lifestyle after receiving a Parkinson’s diagnosis. Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Green Valley seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more. Call Home Care Assistance at 520-625-2050 to hire a compassionate caregiver for your loved one.