There are a variety of different diets for neurological conditions like Parkinson’s and for gut  or brain health. It’s interesting that there is a debate about Parkinson’s starting in the gut. Epidemiological and biochemical studies have recently identified promising components in certain food groups that may elicit neuroprotection in the brain. What’s more while the cause of Parkinson’s is not known, environmental toxins such as pesticides and herbicides are implicated.

What’s certain is that If you have Parkinson’s, making some simple changes to your eating and drinking habits may help you manage your symptoms better. Parkinson’s UK say there is no one specific diet for Parkinson’s Disease but do have some helpful tips. Overall the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in plant-based foods and olive oil has shown both heart and brain health benefits and is associated with lower rates of PD. Here are some diets that are popular for improved health as well as some courses specifically designed to support brain health.

#1 The Mediterranean Diet

The foundation of the Mediterranean diet is vegetablesfruits, herbs, nuts, beans and whole grains. Meals are built around these plant-based foods. Moderate amounts of dairy, poultry and eggs are also central to the Mediterranean Diet, as is seafood. In contrast, red meat is eaten only occasionally.

#2 The Dash Diet

Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, is a diet recommended for people who want to prevent or treat hypertension — also known as high blood pressure — and reduce their risk of heart disease. The DASH diet focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats.

the dash diet for parkinsons

#3 The Mind Diet

The MIND diet is a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH diets with its goal to reduce dementia and the decline in brain health that usually occurs as we age. Foods emphasized on the MIND diet include whole grains, berries, green, leafy vegetables, other vegetables, olive oil, poultry and fish.

The MIND diet is based on ten food groups to eat and five to avoid. The ten to eat include:

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • All other vegetables
  • Berries
  • Nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Whole grains
  • Fish
  • Beans
  • Poultry
  • Wine (no more than one glass a day)

The five to avoid are:

  • Butter/margarine
  • Cheese
  • Red meat
  • Fried foods
  • Sweets

#4 Wahls Protocol

The Wahls protocol, or Wahls diet, is a version of the Paleolithic (Paleo) diet. This way of eating is based on the idea that humans should eat more like our ancient ancestors and avoid the foods we started eating in the past several hundred years, like wheat and processed foods.

#5 The low-GL diet

The lowglycemic (lowGIdiet involves swapping high-GI foods for lowGI alternatives. It has a number of potential health benefits, including reducing blood sugar levels, aiding weight loss and lowering your risks of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Seee Holford’s Low GL Diet Bible.

#6 Ketogenic Diet

A ketogenic diet is a high fat, moderate protein and very low carbohydrate diet that forces the body to burn fat as opposed to carbohydrates. It is used clinically to control seizures in children with very difficult-to-control epilepsy.

There have also been some studies to suggest that the ketogenic diet may have a neuroprotective effect, which led to the interest in studying the diet in PD. A recent study compared a low fat versus a ketogenic diet in PD. Interestingly, both diets resulted in improvement of motor scores, whereas the ketogenic diet showed improvement in non-motor scores as well.

#7 Gluten-free diet

For the vast majority of people, evidence shows that the glutenfree diet most likely won’t help improve Parkinson’s symptoms or slow the course of the disease. However, there are a few isolated cases where it’s possible that going glutenfree might help someone who has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. See Parkinson’s Disease and Gluten-Free Diets om Very Well

Living well with Parkinson’s means it’s likely that you’ll need to make some adjustment to meals times and dietry changes. According to Parkinson’,

“While there is no prescription for a PD-specific diet, to maintain overall good health most people living with Parkinson’s disease should eat a variety of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, milk and dairy products, and protein-rich foods such as meat and beans.”

Finally Drink Green Tea!

Parkinson’s Diet & Nutrition Courses

The Michael J Fox Foundation have just published a helpful guide on diet and Parkinson’s. It can be found here –

Parkinson’s School 2020  | Education is Medicine.


Parkinson’s School was created by Dr. Laurie Mischley to be a resource for patients and their family members. Clinic visits are too few and far between and patients have questions that are going unanswered. Over the past 10 years Laurie Mischley treated over 3000 patients with Parkinson’s and these courses represent the themes she found herself repeating.

This is a recorded presentation from Parkinson Society British Columbia’s Victoria Regional Conference featuring Laurie Mischley. Dr. Mischley studied naturopathic medicine (ND) at Bastyr University and epidemiology (MPH) and nutritional sciences (PhD) at the University of Washington. Her work is focused on identifying the nutritional requirements unique to individuals with neurodegenerative diseases. She has published articles on coenzyme Q10, lithium and glutathione deficiency in Parkinson’s disease (PD). Dr. Mischley maintains a small clinical practice at Seattle Integrative Medicine focused on nutrition and neurological health.

The Brain Dietitian

A functional medicine approach to brain healing.The Parkinson’s Gut Health Protocol is a clear and impactful step-by-step protocol for eating after a Parkinson’s diagnosis. Casey Farlow, MPH, RDN, CLT, is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with advanced training in functional medicine approaches to brain health. Using evidence-based medical nutrition therapy along side cutting-edge testing we provide a personalized plan to assist clients in achieving optimized brain health.  Casey specializes in neurological diseases and mental health.Find out more.

Food for the Brain resources

Food for the Brain wish to raise awareness of the importance of optimum nutrition in mental health. They are a charitable foundation working to inform organisations and empower individuals to change their diet and lifestyle and take greater control of their own mental health.

What foods not to eat with Parkinson’s Disease?

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. Eating too many sugary foods and drinks can negatively impact your immune system. Opt for naturally sweetened food and reduce your sugar intake to manage Parkinson’s symptoms. Eating too much protein e.g. consuming lots of beef, fish, or cheese may affect the effectiveness of certain Parkinson’s medications.

Scientic studies and articles on Diet and Parkinson’s

  1. Role of Diet and Nutritional Supplements in Parkinson’s Disease

  2. Diet and medical foods in Parkinson’s disease – ScienceDirect

  3. Recent Studies on Nutrition and Parkinson’s Disease Prevention: A Systematic Review

  4. Does consuming low-fat dairy increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease?

Related categories : exercise

Have you come across any other diets or nutrition plans that help living with Parkinsons? Please add your comments below…