Parkinson’s Disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system resulting from the death of dopamine-containing cells. It’s believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Characteristics include tremors, muscle stiffness, poor balance and difficulty walking. Simple tasks like getting dressed in the morning can become a chore. While there is no cure, there are medications available to boost dopamine in the brain and help manage symptoms. Over time though, symptoms will stop responding to traditional drugs. It’s important to take extra measures to slow down the progression. Below are eight of the top ways to manage parkinson’s disease naturally.
It’s important to eat a whole food diet that includes fresh fruit, vegetables and organic meats and remove processed foods and grains completely (for more, check out my Healing Foods Diet). Constipation is common among Parkinson’s patients, so be sure to eat plenty of fiber and stay adequately hydrated. Increasing omega-3 intake can help elevate dopamine levels and reduce inflammation.
Drink Green Tea
Green tea contains polyphenol antioxidants that help fight free radicals. It also contains theanine, which elevates dopamine levels in the brain. Try drinking three cups a day to reap the most benefits.
Move With Caution
Parkinson’s can throw off your sense of balance and make it difficult to walk with a normal gait. Try not to move too quickly. When you’re walking, try to make sure your heel hits the floor first. If you find yourself shuffling, stop and adjust your posture. Look straight ahead as you walk, not down at the ground. When turning around, resist the tendency to pivot at your feet. Instead, make a U-turn. Try to avoid leaning or reaching and keep your center of gravity over your feet.
Prevent Stiff Muscles
Gentle exercise and stretching make everyday tasks easier. Here’s a simple four-step sequence you can do daily to keep your muscles loose:
1. Stand eight inches away from a wall and reach your arms upward. Place your hands on the wall for balance and stretch out the arms and back.
2. Next, turn around and place your back against the wall for balance. Gently march in place, lifting your knees as high as possible.
3. Sitting in a chair, reach your arms behind the chair, bringing your shoulders back as far as possible. Lift your head toward the ceiling as you stretch.
4. From the chair, stomp your feet up and down while pumping your arms back and forth at your sides.
Tai Chi is the Chinese martial art of slow, rhythmic movement. It’s great for maintaining strength and balance. Long recommended as a way for seniors to stay active and fit, research is now suggesting it can help manage Parkinson’s symptoms. An hour of Tai Chi twice a week is enough to help with stability and walking.
Balance problems and stiffness can make traditional exercises difficult. Water aerobics can have the same benefits as conventional exercise without the risk of falling. Be sure to use the shallow end of the pool. Joining a group class might be beneficial for emotional support and additional motivation.
Eastern medicine can often be looked down upon in the West, but some scientists argue it’s worth a closer look. Research has shown acupuncture can relieve symptoms by generating a neural response in areas of the brain that are particularly affected by Parkinson’s such as the putamen and the thalamus.
Mitochondria are responsible for the production of energy for our cells. During production, a by-product of spare electrons is created. When these electrons escape the cell, they are known as free radicals. They are responsible for oxidative damage to the brain. To combat the damage, every cell of the body contains a powerful antioxidant called Coenzyme Q10. Studies have show very low levels of Coenzyme Q10 in the brain and blood of Parkinson’s patients, which is why a supplement might be helpful. I recommend Coenzyme Q10 by Garden of Life.
Let me hear from you:
Do you have a loved one with Parkinsons? What have you found most beneficial in helping managing the disease naturally?