Eating certain foods while limiting others may help improve brain health and benefit people with Parkinson’s. In fact there are 5 foods to limit if you have Parkinson’s as part of the MIND diet. The MIND diet was developed based on information about what foods and nutrients have good and bad effects on the functioning of the brain over time. Following this diet has been associated with a decreased risk and slower progression of parkinsonism and with later age of Parkinson’s disease onset. It’s also been associated with slower cognitive decline and reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s. As part of the MIND diet there are 5 unhealthy food groups that you should limit your intake of.
The MIND diet blends two heart-healthy eating patterns, the DASH diet and Mediterranean diet. As well as limiting your intake of the 5 unhealthy food groups, the diet encourages you to eat brain healthy foods such as vegetables, berries, nuts, extra virgin olive oil, whole grains, fish, beans (legumes) and poultry with the option of a small amount of wine. Always talk to your doctor if drinking alcohol is appropriate for you.
MIND diet researchers encourage limiting, but not eliminating, your consumption of certain foods because they contain saturated fats and trans-fats, as consuming these in excess may be associated with poor brain health. To adhere to and benefit from the MIND diet, you need to limit your intake of the following foods:
5 foods to limit if you have Parkinson’s disease
- Red meat and meat products
- Butter and stick margarine
- Whole-fat cheese
- Pastries and sweets
- Fried or fast food
So let’s look more closely at the 5 foods to limit if you have Parkinson’s.
Red meat and meat products: including beef, pork, lamb and products made from these meats. Brain-healthy alternatives include grilled fish or poultry such as chicken or turkey and beans (legumes). To adhere to and benefit from the MIND diet it is suggested to limit red meat and meat product consumption to less than three times per week.
Butter and stick margarine: it is recommended to use extra virgin olive oil as your primary source of fat. Consider dipping your wholegrain bread into extra virgin olive oil or using avocado, tahini or nut butters as alternative spread options. To adhere to and benefit from the MIND diet it is suggested to limit butter and stick margarine consumption to less than one tablespoon per day.
Whole-fat cheese: to adhere to and benefit from the MIND diet it is suggested to limit whole-fat cheese consumption to less than once per week.
Pastries and sweets: including most of the processed junk food and desserts such as ice-cream, cookies, brownies, cakes, donuts, candy etc. To adhere to and benefit from the MIND diet it is suggested to limit pastries and sweets consumption to less than four times per week.
Fried or fast-food: especially fried foods from fast-food restaurants. To adhere to and benefit from the MIND diet it is suggested to limit fried and fast-food consumption to less than once per week.
The MIND diet is a set of guidelines instead of strict rules and is easy to follow with several potential benefits for brain health. There are 5 foods to limit if you have Parkinson’s as part of the MIND diet including red meat, butter, whole-fat cheese, pastries/sweets and fried/fast foods as they contain large amounts of saturated and trans-fats. When preparing meals and snacks on the MIND diet be sure to incorporate plenty of brain-healthy foods while limiting those 5 food groups that are not so healthy for the brain.
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