Grandparenting with Parkinson’s Disease: Part 2

grandchildren

Sherri Journeying Through

Second in a series. Read part one here.

In my last column, I shared about grandparenting with Parkinson’s disease. Today, I will give you concrete ways to have a blast with your grandkids (or young kids) without losing your mind or your strength because of Parkinson’s.

Children love to bake and cook. Make or find an apron they can get messy in and make cookies. This is one activity all my grandchildren love doing with their grandpa and me. It will be messy, but what’s more important? A clean kitchen or freshly baked cookies made with your grandchild?

Children love to garden. Have some child-size garden tools available for your little helper. You might as well get the normal size because they’re going to want to use yours anyhow! A hand shovel, a small watering can, and a short rake are good for starters. (The small, plastic leaf rakes for hard-to-reach places are good child-sized rakes.) My grandson uses every tool I use, so be ready to teach and supervise.

Kids love art projects. I have a child-sized art easel I purchased at IKEA for $15 a few years ago. It is a perfect size and has lasted outside on the deck for over eight years. Use fingerprint paint and then you don’t have to worry about staining clothes or the deck or floor. Use a kitchen apron for added protection.

Visit the Dollar Store and thrift shops with your new best friends. Crayons, silly string, construction paper, sidewalk chalk, and other crafty items await you at a bargain price. I have gotten small pom-poms and small, square foam pieces at the Dollar Store, and they have lasted two years for make-do snowball type wars inside the house. They’ve also become the rocks for the dump truck and more. Total cost: $2.

My grandson loves to play with balls. A bag of balloons is great for make-do volleyballs for inside the house. He also loves silly string and, surprisingly, it’s not a pain to clean up. That, however, is for outside.

Every kid loves sandboxes, but so do the neighbor’s cats. I put a small, round (about 36” in diameter) black plastic pond form I bought at the neighborhood garden shop on the back deck (where the sand stays dry) for a sandbox. Before my grandson goes home, we pile all the outside toys in it and then there’s no room for cats.

I bought a roll of brown grocery type paper at the Dollar Store and unrolled it flat onto the deck. I took an old cookie tray (you could use throw-away foil ones), put different colors of finger paint in it and placed it at one end of the paper and let him put his bare feet in it and walk around on the paper. We framed part of it as a gift for mom and dad, and let mom use the rest for wrapping paper.

Look for other grandmas who watch their grandchildren and get to know them, even meet them at the park one day. The mall playgrounds, indoor play areas, parks, and more are good places to meet new friends for the both of you. Malls are also good places to take the little one to walk early in the morning before the crowds begin.

If you have cleaning to do, why not let the kids help? While I cleaned the toilet one day, I gave my grandson a plastic spray bottle with water in it and a sponge, and sitting inside of it, he “cleaned” the tub.

There are so many other things you could do that are easy on you. Some things to keep in mind if you know you’re going to have a child over for the day:

  • Don’t use up your energy today if you know you’ll be watching them tomorrow.
  • They are most important, so learn to leave the housework. It will still be there. They may not be, and they won’t stay little very long.
  • Carry your phone everywhere you go when they are with you (and when they aren’t) in case you need help. I called my husband last summer to get us from the park down the street because I knew I wasn’t going to make it home.

Do you have any suggestions on grandparenting with Parkinson’s disease you might share?

***

Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

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The Importance of Tracking Physical Progress With Parkinson’s Disease

In this video from the Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson’s, physical therapist Mike Studer talks about how tracking can help Parkinson’s disease patients recognize and measure their progress over time.

MORE: Discover seven ways to make your home safer if you have Parkinson’s disease

Studer explains that patients often feel frustrated because they feel they’re not progressing in physical therapy, but when they chart their progress, they can see how far they’ve actually come over a period of time, which encourages them to continue.

Looking back a month, six months, a year or more helps Parkinson’s disease patients see that they have in fact progressed and that they’re getting stronger. This gives them a sense of control and achievement and help motivate them to do more in the future.

MORE: Watch some exercises designed to help Parkinson’s disease patients with balance and stride

Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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Cognitive Rehabilitation Improves Dementia Patients’ Goal Attainment, Study Shows

Parkinson's-related goals study

Goal-oriented cognitive rehabilitation was better than standard treatment or relaxation therapy at helping dementia patients achieve goals, a study reported.

It also led to patients getting more satisfaction from attaining goals, researchers said. And it led to caregivers reporting less stress and a better quality of life. The study was based on patients’ and caregivers’ self-reports.

The types of dementia the patients had were associated either with Parkinson’s disease or Lewy bodies, researchers said.

Their study, “Goal-orientated cognitive rehabilitation for dementias associated with Parkinson’s disease―A pilot randomised controlled trial,” appeared in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

The main objective of the study was to assess the appropriateness and feasibility of goal-oriented cognitive rehabilitation for people with Parkinson’s-related dementia.

In goal-oriented cognitive rehabilitation, people with dementia and their families work together with a health professional to identify needs and goals, then try to achieve the goals.

The study included 29 people with dementia associated with Parkinson’s or with Lewy bodies and 26 caregivers.  After the patients set goals, they were randomized into three groups.

Ten received goal-focused cognitive rehabilitation, 10 others relaxation therapy, and nine standard treatment.

Cognitive rehabilitation occurred in eight weekly one-hour sessions with a therapist. Participants were given strategies for overcoming difficulties in planning and retaining information.

Relaxation therapy, also given in one-hour sessions for eight weeks, taught participants muscle relaxation and breathing exercises.

Participants in both groups were encouraged to practice their strategies between sessions with the help of their caregivers.

The study’s primary objective was to see if goal-oriented cognitive rehabilitation could improve patients’ ability to achieve goals and their satisfaction attaining goals than standard treatment.

One set of secondary objectives involved patients and another set caregivers. The patient set included seeing whether cognitive rehabilitation could improve patients’ mood, cognition, overall health, quality of life, and daily functioning. The caregiver set included seeing whether patients’ cognitive rehabilitation could reduce caregivers’ stress and improve their quality of life.

Researchers received patient and caregiver assessments at two and six months after the start of the study.

Two months after the patients set goals, the cognitive rehabilitation group reported more success achieving goals and more satisfaction doing so than the other groups. Another finding was that the relaxation therapy group reported better goal-attainment success and satisfaction than those in the standard treatment group.

At six months, cognitive rehabilitation continued to outperform standard treatment and relaxation therapy, although the difference was not as great as at two months.

Patients’ ability to achieve secondary objectives varied between the two-month and six-month assessments. At two months, cognitive rehabilitation did a better job than standard treatment and relaxation therapy in maintaining or improving patients’ mood and self-efficacy, or the feeling they could  achieve a goal. Those caring for cognitive rehabilitation patients reported that the quality of their own life had improved.

At six months, cognitive rehabilitation patients reported less delay in recalling information, better overall health, and better quality of life. Those caring for cognitive rehabilitation patients reported less stress, better overall health, and better quality of life than those caring for patients receiving standard treatment.

The results prompted researchers to suggest that goal-oriented cognitive rehabilitation is an effective treatment for dementia associated with Parkinson’s.

“Cognitive rehabilitation is feasible and potentially effective for dementias associated with Parkinson’s disease,” they wrote.

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Parkinson’s-related Study Identifies Mechanism Underlying Nerve Cell Generation

Nerve cell production study

American researchers have identified an enzyme-based mechanism that regulates neural stem cells’ ability to generate nerve cells, a finding that could lead to new therapies for Parkinson’s and other brain disorders.

Scientists at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute did the work. The institute has research facilities in San Diego and Orlando.

The study, “N6-methyladenosine RNA modification regulates embryonic neural stem cell self-renewal through histone modifications,” appeared in Nature Neuroscience.

Neural stem cells are precursors of nerve and other kinds of brain cells. They can self-renew and multiply without limit. All mammals have them throughout their lives.

The study zeroed in on the stem cells’ ability to self-renew. The team engineered mice to lack Mettl1, an enzyme that modifies the messenger RNA involved in the Mettl14 gene’s work. The modification is known as m6A.

Deleting the enzyme reduced the stem cells’ ability to proliferate and generate nerve cells, the scientists learned. They also discovered that the m6A modification prevented the stem cells from differentiating into other kinds of precursor cells.

The study revealed that the m6A modification controlled differentiation by regulating modifications of proteins known as histones that can compress DNA.

Compacting DNA prevents a gene from gaining access to a cell’s protein-making machinery. Not compressing it allows it to gain access. This essentially means that histone modifications can turn a gene on or off.

“Our results provide an in-depth analysis of m6A in brain [neuron stem cells] and suggest that there is an interaction between m6A and histone modification as a mechanism of gene regulation,” the researchers wrote.

“Our findings are the first to illustrate cross-talk between mRNA and histone modifications, and may lead to new ways to target genes in the brain,” Dr. Jing Crystal Zhao said in a press release. Messenger RNA modifications could be used to get histone modifications to turn genes on or off, she said.

Scientists have used histone modifications in psychiatry, neurology, and increasingly in cancer. But the treatments that have been available so far have not targeted specific genes. The Sanford Burnham Prebys team plans to change its strategy to a gene-by-gene approach.

“Ultimately, by modulating mRNA modification and its interacting histone modifications at a specific genomic region, we hope to correct aberrant gene expression in brain disorders with precision,” Zhao said.

By identifying how an mRNA modification affects neural stem cells, the findings contribute to understanding the stem cells’ biology, a key to controlling their functions in the brain, she observed.

Ultimately, the strategy could contribute to the development of stem cell therapies for neurological diseases affecting cognitive function, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

“Being able to maintain viable stem cells in the brain could lead to regenerative therapies to treat injury and disease,” Zhao concluded.

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Wearable Sensors Tracking Exercise Show Potential in Parkinson’s But Better Studies Needed, Team Says

wearable biosensors

Researchers at Cedars-Sinai found existing evidence does not support claims that wearable biosensors are improving outcomes for patients with various ills — from obesity to hypertension to lung or heart diseases — although hints of these devices’ potential were seen in some studies in Parkinson’s patients.

A lack of long-term and high-quality research analyzing benefits realized by the range of people using these devices, also known as remote patient monitors, may be a reason for this result, the research team noted. For instance, more than 4,300 studies were considered for this review, but less 1 percent was found to be of sufficient quality.

Among those few included in the final analysis, however, one in Parkinson’s patients looking at gait training exercises found “significantly” better improvements in patients using a biosensor than those given home visits. This six-week program used an ankle device and allowed for remote feedback.

Another six-week at-home physical therapy study, with Parkinson’s and other patients monitored by wireless sensors along the spine, likewise reported “important changes in clinical outcomes” — although “mixed results” were also found, the investigators said.

Wearable biosensors — noninvasive devices that couple data to the internet or a mobile app for self-monitoring or health assessment — have grown increasingly popular as wristbands or watches that do things like count steps or track sleep. However, overall proof that these sensors are improving patient outcomes across a range of ills, especially in regards to weight loss or lower blood pressure, is not there yet, the researchers said.

The study “Impact of remote patient monitoring on clinical outcomes: an updated meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials,” was published in npj Digital Medicine.

“As of now, we don’t have enough evidence that they consistently change clinical outcomes in a meaningful way,” Brennan Spiegel, MD, senior author of the study, said in a Cedars-Sinai release. “But that doesn’t mean they can’t.”

Wearable devices to measure health indicators are seen as a potential way to reduce healthcare burden, lower costs, generate data, and improve physician oversight. But a meta-analysis (considered a high-level analysis) revealed that remote patient monitoring showed no signs of significance in six clinical outcomes — healthy changes in body mass index, weight, waist circumference, body fat percentage, systolic blood pressure, and diastolic blood pressure.

This meta-review examined 27 studies from 13 countries, published between January 2000 and October 2016, that looked at the outcomes of patients with illnesses including cardiovascular disease, lung disease, Parkinson’s, and sleeping disorders. Devices ranged from physical activity trackers to pulse oximeters (oxygen saturation monitors) and were embedded in every available form, from watches to textiles.

The team’s analysis showed that the devices largely had no significant impact on outcomes studied, especially in the meta-analysis. Certain types of interventions worked best instead, they found, including efforts grounded in social science models and established care guidelines or personalized coaching.

“There is a big difference between using these sensors to track sleep for self-betterment and using them to make medical decisions,” said Michelle S. Keller, a study co-author.

Lack of available long-term and quality data could be a reason for these findings, the researchers emphasized. Very few studies were randomized and many varied significantly in terms of the types of devices used, populations observed, and interventions tested.

“Many of the studies we reviewed were still in the pilot phase,” said Benjamin Noah, the study’s lead author. “There just is not enough data yet.”

 

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Grandparenting with Parkinson’s Disease

grandparenting

Sherri Journeying Through

You’ll soon be blessed with your first grandchild. The news brings joy to your ears and puts a spring in your step, until you begin to reevaluate: You have Parkinson’s disease. Will you prove to be of no use? Will you be a burden? A bother? Just in the way? Or somewhat of an asset? Can you be a help to your children on their new adventure — your grand, new adventure? What can you expect?

I became “Grammy” when my first grandchild, a beautiful little girl was born four years after my Parkinson’s disease diagnosis.

I was in a fairly good place physically. I was slower, but still capable of walking on my own and getting around. I was losing upper body strength, but I began watching my granddaughter every day when she was 6 months old. Babies are born small and grow into big people, not vice versa. So, while I watched my granddaughter grow, I noticed I was growing stronger in my upper body. My granddaughter had become my “home gym.”

I now have three grandchildren; the youngest is a 3-year-old whom I watch every day. On certain days, because of my health, my grandson and I take “our” activities at a slower pace. On other days, I need a little extra time. That’s one blessing of being around smaller children. Everything fascinates them. They stop to notice things instead of hurrying by with an eagerness to get to their destination at a record pace. And children bring joy into our lives that nothing else can compare to. They are good in uplifting our souls and our spirits.

My husband is unemployed, which has been a serious hardship on his desire to support his family financially. But often I look out the window and, with tears silently filling my eyes, I give a prayer of thanksgiving for what God has done. God knew my heart would yearn to watch my grandkids — all of them — if their parents needed to work. God also knew, that in my present condition with Parkinson’s disease, I wouldn’t be able to do it day in and day out, alone. He gave me my husband as my caregiver. He is an exceptional caregiver to me and helps tremendously in the care of his little grandson.

I needed to learn to make some changes, though, to be able to watch my grandkids. I have had to:

  • Let go of my pride.
  • Let others help me.
  • Recognize every single need has been filled month in and month out.
  • Let go of my perfectionist personality and let things wait until I have time to clean them or until I have the energy to do it.
  • Realize some things are no longer as important as they once were, like housework.

What might you, as a grandparent, be able to do with your grandchildren when you have PD? For those who are still able to get around independently, you know from having your own children that they love to go on walks and “explore.” Walking is one good exercise for grandparents with Parkinson’s disease. Play games as you walk. “I spy …,” pretending to fly, looking for ladybugs, and naming different flower types and their colors are all fun ways to spend a sunny day outside, and they are easy on grandma and grandpa. On rainy days, you’ll find us jumping in puddles. Make sure to keep a spare pair of rubber boots and a raincoat at your house. Thrift stores are good places to look for spare rain gear.

Check my column in a couple of days. I’ll share specific ways to have fun with your little ones without losing your mind or your strength!

***

Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

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Ryan Reynolds and Michael J. Fox Team Up Against Parkinson’s

In this TODAY video, Today host Willie Geist talks to Michael J. Fox and Ryan Reynolds about Parkinson’s disease.

MORE: 10 complications of Parkinson’s disease

Michael J. Fox was famously diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991 when he was just 30 years old. Both Willie Geist’s and Ryan Reynold’s fathers also suffer from the disease.

MORE: 11 facts about Parkinson’s disease you may not know

Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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Parkinson’s Disease Digital Biomarker DREAM Challenge Winners Announced

Parkinson’s Disease Digital Biomarker DREAM Challenge

The winners of a crowd-sourced research challenge designed to improve the ability of remote sensors to monitor Parkinson’s disease (PD) used a mix of signal processing and deep neural networks to better predict disease and disease severity.

Sage Bionetworks, in collaboration with the Michael J. Fox Foundation, recently published the results of the Parkinson’s Disease Digital Biomarker (PDDM) DREAM Challenge. The methods developed by top-performing teams performed 38 percent better than previous models at detecting Parkinson’s from a walk and balance test, and were 58 percent better than baseline models at predicting severity of different symptoms, among other achievements.

“The proposed solutions were far outside the traditional techniques used in the field of actigraphy (a sensor used to measure gross motor activity) and many of the experts involved in organizing the challenge are reconsidering the way they interpret this kind of data,” Larsson Omberg, vice president of systems biology at Sage Bionetworks, said in a press release.

The PDDM DREAM Challenge was divided into two categories. Participants in the first category used data from mPower (a large health study where Parkinson’s patients used their mobile phones to perform walk and balance tests) to extract features that could be used to detect the disease. In the second category, participants extracted features for three different symptoms (tremor, dyskinesia and bradykinesia) from a Michael J. Fox Foundation-funded study, the Levodopa Response Trial (where people were monitored with three to eight accelerometer sensors while performing a series of activities).

Yuanfang Guan and Marlena Duda from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, won the first category. The team developed a deep learning convolutional neural network with artificial intelligence technology that led to a predictive model identifying Parkinson’s 38 percent better than baseline models.

The three award winners in the second category were Bálint Ármin Pataki, from Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary; Jennifer Schaff, a Data Scientist at Elder Research, Inc.; and Yuanjia Wang and Ming Sun, from Columbia University. Pataki built features for tremor severity that performed 11 percent better than previous models. Schaff developed statistical methods to derive features that predicted dyskinesia severity 59 percent better than baseline models. Wang and Sun built features using spectral decomposition that outperformed all other teams in predicting bradykinesia with a 17 percent improvement.

The next step is moving participants into a joint effort to learn from each other’s experiences and work together to find new methods that might improve the value of the new findings and help interpret the clinical relevance of new features found during the challenge.

More than 440 data experts participated in the challenge from all corners of the world. The DREAM Challenge is funded by the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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Safety Watchdog ISMP Issues Alert on Acadia’s Nuplazid Therapy for Parkinson’s

Nuplazid alert

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) questions the approval of Acadia Pharmaceuticals’ antipsychotic therapy Nuplazid (pimavanserin) in the face of reports that it is ineffective in treating Parkinson’s disease and leads to severe adverse effects, including death.

Researchers shared these concerns in an article, “Safety Signals for Two Novel Drugs,” that appeared in the ISMP publication QuarterWatch. In it, the Pennsylvania-based ISMP issued a safety alert for the medication, and cautioned against combining Nuplazid with Seroquel (quetiapine) or other antipsychotics. It cautioned that such treatments are not recommended for older people, nor are they approved for use in Parkinson’s.

Unlike traditional antipsychotic medications — which mainly block dopamine signaling in the brain, Nuplazid blocks certain types of serotonin receptors. Blocking dopamine using other antipsychotics may trigger worsened movement symptoms in Parkinson’s patients, as these medications essentially counter the effect of levodopa and similar Parkinson’s treatments.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Nuplazid in 2016, despite limited evidence of its effectiveness, ISMP noted.

The institute has access the all adverse events data, best known as MedWatch reports, sent to the FDA. The team noted that Nuplazid was among the 66 medications for which the FDA received 1,000 or more adverse events reports.

ISMP examined four main groups of adverse events for the treatment over the course of a year since Nuplazid’s approval. While the medication intends to treat psychotic symptoms — hallucinations and delusions — the main reported adverse event was hallucinations.

Nearly 22 percent of all reported adverse events were hallucinations. On second place were reports of lack of effectiveness, making up 15 percent of all reports. Confusion and death were the other two frequently reported issues.

This indicates that either the treatment is ineffective, or it worsens psychotic symptoms in some patients, ISMP said. Moreover, the data is consistent with that from the Phase 3 clinical trial (NCT01174004), which led to the medication’s approval.

In that study, both hallucinations and confusion were more common in treated patients compared with patients getting a placebo. An FDA medical reviewer had also underscored that Nuplazid treatment more than doubled the risk of death and serious adverse events in this trial, the ISMP underscored.

The reviewer had recommended against the approval of the treatment, based on this finding and the fact that Nuplazid was minimally effective — an effect assessed with an unvalidated tool. In addition, three earlier trials had failed to show a benefit from the treatment.

These facts made the ISMP side with the cautious reviewer, stating that “We found that pimavanserin was FDA-approved on limited scientific evidence that its benefits outweighed its risks.”

In addition to the adverse events reports, ISMP researchers also noted that many patients used Nuplazid together with Seroquel or other antipsychotics that block dopamine signaling. In addition to not being recommended or approved for the treatment of Parkinson’s psychosis, a recent review noted that there is no evidence that such combinations are effective.

The ISMP, however, gave Nuplazid’s maker, Acadia, a chance to comment on the observations.

The large numbers of adverse event reports, Acadia said, could partly be explained by the company’s extensive contact with health professionals and consumers through a specialty pharmacy network that distributes Nuplazid. Acadia also run a patient support program, which may improve reporting.

But the company also said that reports of hallucinations may reflect the slow onset of Nuplazid’s treatment effect — it takes four weeks for the treatment to be fully effective. Reported hallucinations may, therefore, have occurred before the drug became fully effective, it claimed.

“We share the FDA medical officer’s concerns about the approval of pimavanserin in the face of weak evidence of effectiveness, on the basis of a single small trial, and with increased rates of serious adverse events including death. The early but substantial adverse event data further support these concerns,” the ISMP concluded.

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9 Super Foods to Boost the Immune System

With winter just around the corner, it’s time we all started to look after ourselves a little more. Avoiding germs is one thing, but we can also try and boost our immune systems by getting plenty of sleep and eating the right foods.

Here are nine foods well-known for their immunity-boosting qualities according to prevention.com.

1. Yogurt
Providing you can eat dairy without any side effects, the natural probiotics found in yogurt are great for keeping the gastrointestinal tract healthy and in order. Opt for ones without added sugar or sweeteners if possible.

MORE: Get inspired by Gregory Chandler’s Parkinson’s story

2. Oats and Barley
Adding oats to your diet in the winter is easy, you can start your day with a hot bowl of oatmeal and you can switch barley for rice with your evening meal. Both of these grains are gentle on the stomach and are high in antioxidants — important for fighting off those winter bugs.

3. Beef
Beef is full of zinc, which many of us are low in over the winter months. Zinc helps to form healthy white blood cells which are important in the fight against winter illnesses. To get the most out of beef aim for organic, grass-fed beef.

4. Garlic
For optimum garlic power, you should eat two cloves of raw garlic a day. However, if this sounds unpalatable then you can either take garlic capsules or use lots of garlic in your cooking. The allicin in garlic is great for helping to fight off colds and flu.

MORE: Did you know that there’s an eye test that can help detect Parkinson’s before first symptoms show up?

5. Sweet Potatoes
Full of beta-carotene which is great for your skin, sweet potatoes make a healthier alternative to regular potatoes and are much lower on the GI scale.

6. Oily Fish and Shellfish
Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring are great sources of omega-3 which can help protect lungs from infections. The selenium found in shellfish such as prawns, oysters and mussels increases the amount of cytokines in the white blood cells which helps to fight off winter ailments.

MORE: Did you know that Parkinson’s disease patients may benefit from dancing?

7. Mushrooms
Mushrooms are also good for keeping our white blood cells healthy, and they are a great source of vitamin D — which is in short supply in the winter months. Add some to your favorite dishes for an immune boost.

8. Chicken Soup
The go-to meal when you’re feeling under the weather, research shows that we should be eating chicken soup as a preventative dish as well as a restorative one. The salty brine helps to thin mucus, and the onions and vegetables added to the soup also provide bug-fighting nutrients.

9. Tea
Black and green tea both contain lots of cold-busting antioxidants, even the decaffeinated varieties. Add lemon and honey instead of milk and sugar for a blast of vitamin C and antibacterial goodness.

MORE: Did you know that drinking coffee can lower the risk of Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer?

Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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