What Foods Should People With Parkinson’s Disease Avoid? 7 Foods

Medically Reviewed on 5/19/2022
What Foods Should People With Parkinson's Disease Avoid
Learn about which foods can worsen symptoms of Parkinson’s and what type of diet may help slow progression of the disease

Diet and nutrition play a significant role in boosting the overall health of people with Parkinson’s disease and slowing its progression, and certain foods are better than others.

Here are 7 foods that can worsen symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and should be avoided.

7 foods that should be avoided with Parkinson’s

  1. High-protein foods: While protein is an important part of a balanced diet, eating too much protein can inhibit the effectiveness of certain medications for Parkinson’s. 
  2. Processed foods: Processed or canned foods often lack fiber, which can make it difficult for people with Parkinson’s to have regular bowel movements and increase the risk of constipation.
  3. Dairy products: Studies have shown that dairy products may be linked to an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s, and consumption of yogurt and cheese is associated with faster disease progression.
  4. Saturated fats: Eating a diet high in saturated fats can elevate the risk of developing the disease as well as make symptoms worse.
  5. Hard-to-chew foods: As Parkinson’s progresses, chewing and swallowing food can become more difficult. People with the disease may want to avoid foods that are hard to chew such as tough meat and raw vegetables.
  6. Salty foods: Salty foods, such as chips and canned goods, can lead to issues such as high blood pressure, which can make Parkinson’s symptoms worse.
  7. Acidic foods: Since some Parkinson’s medications can cause nausea, it may be best to avoid acidic foods since these can worsen this side effect.

What diet is recommended for people with Parkinson’s disease?

There is no specific diet that researchers recommend for people with Parkinson’s disease. However, some evidence suggests that certain foods can help reduce symptoms.

Some experts have suggested that the Mediterranean diet may be helpful in slowing the progression of the disease, since the diet emphasizes the following:

  • High intake of fish, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts, which are great sources of vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids
  • Low intake of red meat and poultry
  • Use of olive oil instead of other oils and fats although canola oil can be substituted
  • Use of turmeric, which has anti-inflammatory properties

Eating a well-balanced diet improves overall health and boosts the ability to manage symptoms:

  • Whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean protein, beans, legumes, and whole grains are key to staying energized.
  • Fiber-rich foods and adequate hydration can reduce the risk of constipation, which is common in Parkinson’s.

What nutrients are important for people with Parkinson’s disease?

Almost 30% of people with mild or moderate Parkinson’s are at risk of malnutrition due to a multitude of factors such as:

Essential nutrients that are necessary for people with Parkinson’s include:

  • Vitamins A, C, and E are antioxidants that have neuroprotective properties.
  • B vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, biotin, and cyanocobalamin are necessary for metabolism and nervous system health.
  • Calcium and vitamin D are important for bone health.


Parkinson's disease is only seen in people of advanced age. See Answer

What role does exercise play in Parkinson’s disease?

Exercise has been proven to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease and help with managing symptoms. Experts recommend getting at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week. 

Benefits of exercise with Parkinson’s include:

  • Boosting overall health and energy levels
  • Preventing secondary symptoms of Parkinson’s such as constipation
  • Improving mobility, flexibility, and balance
  • Improving mood and cognitive function
  • Reducing the risk of falls

What is the treatment for Parkinson’s disease?

There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease. However, medications, therapy, and surgery may help with managing symptoms.

  • Medications: Medications that may be prescribed for Parkinson’s include:
  • Deep brain stimulation: People with Parkinson’s may also benefit from deep brain stimulation, which can help manage symptoms such as tremors. 
  • Surgery: In some cases, surgery may also relieve symptoms by destroying certain areas of brain tissue.
Medically Reviewed on 5/19/2022
Image Source: iStock Image

Fighting Parkinson’s Disease With Exercise and Diet. Johns Hopkins Medicine: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/parkinsons-disease/fighting-parkinson-disease-with-exercise-and-diet

Marty Acevedo. Eating With Parkinson’s. Parkinson’s Association of San Diego: https://parkinsonsassociation.org/eating-with-parkinsons/

Parkinson’s disease. Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/parkinsons-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20376055