food for parkinson's disease

Fueling Brain Health

In this article, we will explore the worst foods to avoid and the best foods to include in a diet for patients with Parkinson's, and also look at a treatment option (ONGENTYS® (opicapone) capsules), indicated as adjunctive treatment to levodopa/carbidopa in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Now let's get into foods that work and foods that don't.

Best and Worst Foods for Parkinson’s Disease

Best foods for parkinson's disease:

Antioxidant-Rich Fruits and Vegetables

Foods high in antioxidants, such as berries, leafy greens, broccoli and bell peppers, can help combat oxidative stress and inflammation. These nutrients play a crucial role in supporting brain health and may help slow the progression of Parkinson's.

Whole Grains

Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa and whole wheat provide a steady energy source and contain important nutrients like fiber and B vitamins. They can help regulate blood sugar levels and support overall digestive health.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties and support brain health. For those who don't consume fish, sources like flaxseeds and walnuts can be beneficial.

Lean Proteins

Opt for lean sources of protein like poultry, legumes and tofu. These options provide essential amino acids without the excess saturated fat found in fatty cuts of meat.


Maintaining proper hydration is essential for overall well-being and can play a role in managing symptoms of Parkinson's disease, particularly those associated with the side effects of medications.

Green Tea

Green tea harbors compounds such as polyphenols that have demonstrated associations with safeguarding neurological health. The moderate presence of caffeine and other advantageous elements might render it a suitable beverage option for those managing Parkinson's disease.

Nuts and Seeds

Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds and pumpkin seeds are nutrient-dense snacks that provide healthy fats, fiber and essential minerals. They can be beneficial for brain health and overall well-being.

Worst foods for parkinson's disease:

Sugary Snacks and Beverages

Foods high in added sugars, such as sugary snacks, desserts and beverages, can lead to rapid blood sugar spikes followed by crashes. These fluctuations can impact energy levels and potentially worsen mood and cognitive function.

Processed Foods

Highly processed foods, often rich in trans fats, artificial additives and excessive salt, can negatively impact overall health. For Parkinson's patients, these foods can contribute to inflammation, potentially worsening motor symptoms and interfering with medications.


Although several studies have indicated potential neuroprotective benefits from moderate caffeine consumption, excessive caffeine intake can disrupt sleep patterns and exacerbate motor symptoms like tremors.

Saturated and Trans Fats

Foods high in saturated and trans fats, like fried foods and fatty cuts of meat, can contribute to inflammation and oxidative stress in the body. Inflammation is thought to play a role in the progression of Parkinson's disease, making it crucial to limit the intake of these fats.

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Excessive Dairy

While dairy products can provide valuable nutrients, some studies suggest that excessive dairy consumption may interfere with the effectiveness of certain medications used to manage Parkinson's symptoms. Patients should consult with their healthcare provider about an appropriate dairy intake.


Consuming alcohol excessively can disrupt the effectiveness of medications utilized to control Parkinson's disease and could worsen symptoms like difficulties with balance and cognitive function.

High-Protein Diets

While protein is essential for muscle and tissue repair, extremely high-protein diets can interfere with the absorption of levodopa, a common medication used to manage Parkinson's symptoms. Patients should work with their healthcare provider to strike a balance between protein intake and medication effectiveness.

Treatments for Parkinson's Disease

Treating Parkinson’s disease involves combining a balanced diet with medications and other therapies. Here is a list of common treatment methods.

Medications: Levodopa and other medications are commonly prescribed to manage the motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease. These medications work by increasing dopamine levels in the brain.

Physical Therapy: Physical therapy can help improve mobility, balance and muscle strength. It can also address issues like freezing of gait and muscle stiffness.

Occupational Therapy: Occupational therapy focuses on enhancing daily living skills and helping patients adapt to changes brought about by Parkinson's.

Speech Therapy: Speech therapy can be valuable for addressing speech and swallowing difficulties that often accompany Parkinson's disease.

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS): In some cases, deep brain stimulation may be recommended. This surgical procedure involves implanting electrodes into specific areas of the brain to help regulate movement.

Final Notes

Parkinson's disease is a complex neurological disorder that, unfortunately, has no cure. However, there are various ways to manage its symptoms and improve quality of life. One important aspect of managing Parkinson's is adopting a well-balanced and nutritious diet. Certain foods can exacerbate symptoms and hinder treatment progress, while others can provide essential nutrients that support brain health and overall well-being.

Managing Parkinson's disease involves a comprehensive approach that includes medical treatments, therapies and lifestyle adjustments. A balanced diet plays a significant role in this approach, as certain foods can exacerbate symptoms while others can provide essential nutrients that support brain health.

It's important to consult with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian before making any major dietary changes, as individual needs may vary. With the right approach, individuals with Parkinson's can improve their quality of life and manage their symptoms more effectively.