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Eating Right With Parkinson's Disease

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Relieving Thirst/Dry Mouth

Some Parkinson's disease medications may make you thirsty. Here are some tips for relieving thirst and dry mouth:

  • Drink eight or more cups of liquid each day. But, some people with Parkinson's disease who also have heart problems may need to limit their fluids, so be sure to follow your doctor's guidelines.
  • Limit caffeine (contained in coffee, tea, cola, and chocolate) as it may interfere with some of your medications and may actually make you more dehydrated.
  • Dunk or moisten breads, toast, cookies, or crackers in milk, decaffeinated tea or coffee to soften them.
  • Take a drink after each bite of food to moisten your mouth and to help you swallow.
  • Add sauces to foods to make them soft and moist. Try gravy, broth, sauce, or melted butter.
  • Eat sour candy or fruit ice to help increase saliva and moisten your mouth.
  • Don't use a commercial mouthwash. Commercial mouthwashes often contain alcohol that can dry your mouth. Ask your doctor or dentist about alternative mouthwash products.
  • Ask your doctor about artificial saliva products. They are available by prescription.

I Am Too Tired to Eat in the Evening, What Should I Do?

If you are often too tired to eat later in the day, here are some tips:

  • Save your energy. Choose foods that are easy to prepare. Don't waste all your energy in preparing the meal because then you'll feel too tired to eat.
  • Ask your family to help with meal preparations.
  • Check to see if you are eligible to participate in your local Meals on Wheels Program.
  • Keep healthy snack foods on hand such as fresh fruit and vegetables, pretzels, crackers, high-fiber cold cereals.
  • Freeze extra portions of what you cook so you have a quick meal when you're too tired.
  • Rest before eating so you can enjoy your meal.
  • Try eating your main meal early in the day so you have enough energy to last you for the day.

I Don't Feel like Eating, What Should I Do?

Here are some tips for improving poor appetite.

  • Talk to your doctor; sometimes, poor appetite is due to depression, which can be treated. Your appetite will probably improve after depression is treated.
  • Avoid non-nutritious beverages.
  • Eat small, frequent meals and snacks.
  • Walk or participate in another light activity to stimulate your appetite.

Here are some tips to help you eat more at meals.

  • Drink beverages after a meal instead of before or during a meal so that you do not feel full before you begin eating.
  • Plan meals to include your favorite foods.
  • Try eating the high-calorie foods in your meal first.
  • Use your imagination to increase the variety of food you're eating.

Here are some tips to help you eat snacks.

  • Don't waste your energy eating foods that provide little or no nutritional value such as potato chips, candy bars, colas, and other snack foods.
  • Choose high-protein and high-calorie snacks. High calorie snacks include: ice cream, cookies, pudding, cheese, granola bars, custard, sandwiches, nachos with cheese, eggs, crackers with peanut butter, bagels with peanut butter or cream cheese, cereal with half and half, fruit or vegetables with dips, yogurt with granola, popcorn with margarine and parmesan cheese, or bread sticks with cheese sauce.

 

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