Parkinson’s disease (PD) isn’t always preventable. Still, there are certain lifestyle factors that can contribute to the development of this nervous system disorder. The good news is that some of these factors are controllable to some extent. For this reason, there are natural steps seniors can take to reduce their risk of experiencing long-term issues with Parkinson’s disease.
Go OrganicAccording to the results of a study conducted at the University of Guelph, low-level exposure to pesticides may affect cells in a way that’s similar to the mutations associated with PD. There’s also evidence some people with PD have elevated levels of herbicides in their brains. Reduce the risk of this type of exposure by going organic with locally sourced food that’s not heavily treated. If your aging loved one needs help managing everyday tasks or encouragement to adopt healthier lifestyle choices, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elder care. Home Care Assistance provides professional in-home caregivers around the clock to help seniors live longer, happier, and healthier lives.
Opt for Fresh VeggiesFresh vegetables are beneficial for seniors looking to prevent Parkinson’s disease naturally because they often contain high amounts of folic acid, an essential B vitamin. Studies suggest complex B vitamins may reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Reliable sources of beneficial B vitamins include:
- Broccoli and spinach
- Collard greens and Brussels sprouts
- Asparagus and okra
- Avocados, legumes, and lentils
Include Omega-3 Fatty Acids in the DietBecause Parkinson’s disease is considered inflammatory in nature, researchers looking into prevention methods have looked at ways to encourage natural inflammation control. One way this may be done is with foods containing omega-3 fatty acids. A 2008 Canadian study found that omega-3 fatty acids helped with maintaining optimal levels of dopamine, a chemical that helps with nerve connections in the brain. Good natural sources of omega-3 fatty acids include:
- Salmon, mackerel, tuna, and other “fatty” fish
- Walnuts and other nuts and seeds
- Plant oils
Increase Vitamin D IntakeThere’s research showing lower levels of vitamin D in some seniors with early-stage Parkinson’s. The link between vitamin D and PD isn’t fully understood, but this vital nutrient does help with the absorption of calcium, which makes bones stronger and healthier. Ultimately, the healthier someone is, the more likely he or she is to have a reduced risk of developing conditions such as PD. Vitamin D offers additional health benefits, including:
- Increased immunity
- A lower risk of developing osteoporosis (“brittle bone” disease)
- Added protection against dementia
- Increased energy There are two main sources of vitamin D—natural sunlight and animal fat. Seniors can also get more vitamin D from cereals and other fortified foods, cheese, beef liver, and egg yolks.