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​Enjoying a Healthy Vegan Diet when You Have Parkinson’s

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Veganism in America has soared by around 600% in the past three years, which is fabulous news for those who are already hooked on this healthy, ethical way of living. If you have just been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, you may wonder if veganism is compatible with your recommended nutritional regime. In fact, as noted by Parkinson.org, research indicates that eating a whole-food, plant-based diet that is rich in seasonal produce and high in fiber can help soothe Parkinson’s symptoms. If you are pressed for time or you’d like to sample the full variety and delicious taste of vegan food, why not order a meal from Vegin’ Out? You probably never realized the vegan lifestyle could taste so good, or be such a powerful ally for good health.

What Gut Health Challenges do People with Parkinson’s Have?

By the time a person with Parkinson’s begins to feel the symptoms of their disease, chances are, their gut microbiota may have long been aware that there is a problem. Recent research by scientists at the University of Bonn have found that there are big changes to gut microbiota even in the early stages of Parkinson’s. In particular, those battling this disease have significantly lower levels of prevotella - a type of bacteria thought to promote optimal gut health.

How can a Vegan Diet Help Soothe Symptoms?

Three case-control studies have found that diets which are high in animal fat or cholesterol are linked to a substantially increased risk for Parkinson’s, yet fat obtained from plants does not appear to have the same effect. Researchers believe that a plant-based diet can slow the loss of the neurons responsible for making dopamine, thereby slowing the progression of the disease. Vegan diets can also be helpful for people with Parkinson’s because they promote vascular health, aiding in the transport of L-dopa (which is converted into dopamine in the brain).

The Ease of Preparing Vegan Foods

Those who have never prepared vegan foods before may wonder about the time and effort involved. The best thing about fruits and vegetables is you often have a choice of consuming them raw, or cooked. These days, the plethora of recipes for raw and cooked vegan foods mean that you don’t need to miss out on your favorite treats - this festive season, you might like to make a raw apple pie, sweetened with nothing more than dates and orange juice. Of course, in the winter time, nothing beats a warm dish or stew. Busy people can simply pop ingredients into a slow cooker and enjoy a wonderful puree or veggie soup when they get home. Of course, if you are going vegan, it is important to be adventurous and to try out a plethora of recipes before you build a wide enough range of dishes to serve to family and friends.

Nutrients to Watch Out For

If you opt for a fully plant-based vegan diet, talk to your doctor about an appropriate dosage of Vitamin B12. Attempt to consume a plethora of different colored seasonal fruits and vegetables, since each will have different vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants and phytochemicals that will benefit your body in different ways. Try to purchase organic produce if possible. A large-scale study published in the British Medical Journal found that organic fruits and vegetables have considerably higher levels of antioxidants than conventionally grown produce. A 2017 study published in Movement Disorders actually found that antioxidants have a neuroprotective effect. Consuming the antioxidant vitamins E and ß‐carotene is linked to a lower risk of Parkinson’s. Of course, antioxidants are key when it comes to promoting better heart health and keeping diseases like cancer at bay, so they should be a priority in any diet.

If you would love to do something good for the environment, animals, and yourself, you might have always been interested in a vegan diet. With research indicating that plant-based diets may help soothe Parkinson’s disease symptoms, this diet may be worthwhile trying out. Run the idea by your doctor first, and ensure you are taking enough Vitamin B12 to boost your general health.

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