Eating Right With Parkinson's Disease

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.

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