What Foods Are Healthy for Seniors with Parkinson’s?

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Approximately one million people in the United States live with Parkinson’s disease, and tens of thousands more receive the diagnosis every year. Symptoms vary among seniors. However, in all instances, the disorder develops secondary to a lack of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Prescription medications can replace the chemical deficit, but scientists continue to research ways to manage Parkinson’s naturally. Some categories of foods are especially helpful for maintaining general health and perhaps interfere with disease progression. 



Consuming foods that are rich sources of antioxidants reduces oxidative stress, protecting neurons and other cells from damage and destruction. Along with providing antioxidants, many of these foods are also good sources of vitamin C and other nutrients that boost the immune system. Recommended foods include:

  • All types of berries
  • Eggplant
  • Dark leafy green vegetables
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes and other vegetables from the nightshade family 



Seniors with Parkinson’s often experience constipation secondary to medications. Those living with advanced symptoms may have mobility issues that also lead to constipation. To alleviate the problem, seniors living with Parkinson’s must ensure they consume plenty of fiber throughout the day. Fresh produce, beans, fortified cereals, and whole grain breads have high fiber content. Fiber keeps the gastrointestinal tract muscles moving to eliminate waste.

Issues such as constipation can make it especially challenging to care for a senior loved one in the advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease. If you’re the primary family caregiver for a senior loved one living in Frederick, live-in care is available if your loved one’s health has become too difficult to manage without professional expertise. At Assisting Hands Home Care, we take measures to help seniors prevent illness and injury by assisting with exercise and mobility, preparing nutritious meals, helping with bathing and other personal hygiene tasks, and much more.


Calcium & Vitamin D

Due to dietary insufficiency and mobility issues, seniors with Parkinson’s commonly have abnormally low bone density. Increasing calcium and vitamin D intake may correct the problem. Older adults should increase their consumption of dairy products, fortified cereals, and juices. Oral supplements are another solution. 



Protein is necessary for cells to replicate, grow, and thrive, and it also supplies long-lasting energy. Seniors need lean meats, poultry, beans, eggs, and fish to maintain daily protein requirements. However, they should avoid processed foods with high fat, salt, and sugar content. These foods encourage inflammation, add unwanted weight, and interfere with normal cardiovascular function.

Seniors with Parkinson’s often find it challenging to shop for healthy foods and prepare nutritious meals on their own. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care, a leading provider of home care Frederick families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.


Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, trout, and tuna are examples of oily fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids include eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, both of which protect nerve cells in the brain and throughout the body. 

Scientists at Canada’s Université Laval performed a study using animals with a Parkinson’s-like disorder. The group learned that the animals’ cognitive ability increased after receiving omega-3 fatty acid supplementation. 

Older adults living with Parkinson’s should consider including fish as part of their meals at least twice a week. Some seniors might prefer taking oral supplements. However, taking supplemental forms of omega-3 fatty acids isn’t as effective as eating oily fish. 



Cocoa contains a compound known as phenylethylamine, which has been proven to increase dopamine release. Unlike many other amino acids, phenylethylamine can pass through the blood-brain barrier. The compound binds with the receptor sites that normally absorb dopamine. By preventing dopamine uptake, there’s more phenylethylamine available in the brain, which reduces Parkinson’s symptoms. Dark chocolate is a good source of this compound. 

Caring for a senior loved one with Parkinson’s disease can be a challenge for many families, and a professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of support. Caring for senior loved ones can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Assisting Hands Home Care for the help they need. We provide high-quality in-home care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. To create a customized home care plan for your loved one, call Assisting Hands Home Care today.