Skip to content

    Parkinson's Disease Health Center

    Select An Article

    Eating Right With Parkinson's Disease

    Font Size

    While there is no special diet for people with Parkinson's disease, eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet is extremely beneficial. With the proper diet, our bodies work more efficiently, we have more energy, and Parkinson's diseasemedications will work properly.

    This article addresses the basics of good nutrition. Please consult your doctor or dietitian before making any dietary changes. A registered dietitian can provide in-depth nutrition education, tailor these general guidelines to meet your needs, and help you create and follow a personal meal plan.

    The Basics of Eating Well

    • Eat a variety of foods from each food category. Ask your doctor if you should take a daily vitamin supplement.
    • Maintain your weight through a proper balance of exercise and food. Ask your doctor what your "goal" weight should be and how many calories you should consume per day.
    • Include high-fiber foods such as vegetables, cooked dried peas and beans (legumes), whole-grain foods, bran, cereals, pasta, rice, and fresh fruit in your diet.
    • Choose foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
    • Try to limit sugars.
    • Moderate your use of salt.
    • Drink eight 8 oz. glasses of water per day.
    • Ask your doctor about drinking alcoholic beverages (alcohol may interfere with some of your medications).

    Parkinson's Medication and Food Interactions

    The medication levodopa generally works best when taken on an empty stomach, about ½ hour before meals or at least one hour after meals. It should be taken with 4-5 oz. of water. This allows the drug to be absorbed in the body more quickly.

    For some patients, levodopa may cause nausea when taken on an empty stomach. Therefore, your doctor may prescribe a combination of levodopa and carbidopa (called Sinemet) or carbidopa by itself (called Lodosyn). If nausea is a continual problem, your doctor may be able to prescribe another drug to relieve these symptoms. There are also tips listed below that can help relieve nausea.

    Also, ask your doctor if you should change your daily protein intake. In rare cases, a diet high in protein limits the effectiveness of levodopa.

    Controlling Nausea

    There are several ways to control or relieve nausea, including:

    • Drink clear or ice-cold drinks. Drinks containing sugar may calm the stomach better than other liquids.
    • Avoid orange and grapefruit juices because these are too acidic and may worsen nausea.
    • Drink beverages slowly.
    • Drink liquids between meals instead of during them.
    • Eat light, bland foods (such as saltine crackers or plain bread).
    • Avoid fried, greasy, or sweet foods.
    • Eat slowly.
    • Eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day.
    • Do not mix hot and cold foods.
    • Eat foods that are cold or at room temperature to avoid getting nauseated from the smell of hot or warm foods.
    • Rest after eating, keeping your head elevated. Activity may worsen nausea and may lead to vomiting.
    • Avoid brushing your teeth after eating.
    • If you feel nauseated when you wake up in the morning, eat some crackers before getting out of bed or eat a high protein snack before going to bed (lean meat or cheese).
    • Try to eat when you feel less nauseated.

    If these techniques do not seem to ease your queasy stomach, consult your doctor.

    1 | 2 | 3 | 4
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    Parkinsons disease illustration
    Causes, symptoms, and treatments.
    hands on walker
    How does the disease progress?
    man with serious expression
    8 common questions and answers.
    intelligence quotient illustration
    What are the advantages of DBS?
    Parkinsons Disease Medications
    Questions Doctor Parkinsons
    Eating Right
    Parkinsons Exercise
    daughter consoling depressed mother
    senior man's hands
    Parkinsons Daily