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Nutrition can be an important part of managing chronic illness and Parkinson's is no exception. PNS Fiona Roscoe gives us some good tips to live well with Parkinson's.
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A diagnosis of Parkinson’s is often the catalyst that makes people consider ‘healthy living’. We have all heard the term, but what exactly does it mean and how do we achieve it? It is reassuring to know that there is no special formula for people with Parkinson’s. Healthy living means the same now as it did before your diagnosis, however it may seem more pressing to attend to this now!
At Parkinson’s WA, we take a holistic view of wellness and healthy living, and we acknowledge that mind, body and spirit must be aligned for total wellness.
This can sound overwhelming when we stop to think about it, but in reality, small steps go a long way in making positive changes. Consider these tips below.
Diet and exercise
No one diet fits all and there is no ‘special’ diet for people with Parkinson’s (PWP). The Mediterranean diet is commonly recommended for general health and specifically for those with neurological conditions. Eat a wide variety of unprocessed whole foods, plenty of fresh fruit and veggies, lean protein, fish and chicken, limited red meat, eggs and dairy, healthy fats, nuts and seeds, a little red wine, coffee and chocolate! What’s not to love? You can learn more about nutrition and Parkinson's on our website here.
Bear in mind that exercise does not need to happen in a gym nor need it involve getting hot and sweaty; although we know this is beneficial!
"Think about what you enjoy and recognise that these are habits we are building for life."
Enlist the support of friends and family and mix it up. A daily walk is cheap and accessible. Start small and build on this.
Keeping your mind active and stress levels low is vital in the management of any chronic condition and Parkinson’s is no exception to this. Take time out every single day to breath and relax. Prioritise your hobbies and interests. Avoid too much negativity. Be sure to plan short and longer-term goals/events and trips. Planning a holiday can be as therapeutic as the holiday itself! We all need breaks and fun.
Learn about meditation and mindfulness. These are valuable tools in the management of anxiety and depression. These techniques give us power over our own emotional responses and are proven to improve wellbeing and reduce those harmful stress hormones.
Reclaim your spirituality. This does not necessarily mean belief in an organised religion. We all have our belief systems and ideas around the meaning of life. Think about what motivates and inspires you. Find your meaning.
"There is much we can do to live a healthy life while walking the journey with Parkinson’s. In a nutshell, healthy living means prioritising YOU."
Nobody else can do it for you, and quality of life is such an important measure of happiness regardless of health status. Live Well.
Written by Fiona Roscoe, PNS
Find out more about our Parkinson's Nurse Specialist Program here.