Parkinson’s disease is a central nervous system disorder that affects many older adults. Its symptoms include movement problems, such as shaking, difficulty walking, stiffness of the limbs, and stooped posture. In later stages, Parkinson’s can also have psychiatric and behavioral effects, such as depression, dementia, and sleep disturbances. In addition to these common symptoms, bone thinning occurs in some Parkinson’s patients. This is of particular concern since people suffering from Parkinson’s disease are at increased risk for falls that may result in bone fractures or breakages.

In order to slow the progression of bone thinning, it is very important for people with Parkinson’s to eat a nutritious diet rich in nutrients that support bone health. These include minerals like calcium and magnesium, and other nutrients like vitamins D and K. Calcium can be found in dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cheese, and ice cream. Additionally, many of these foods are also fortified with vitamin D. Calcium can also be found in canned, bone-in fish like sardines and salmon; oily fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines are a good source of vitamin D. Dark leafy greens like kale, collard greens, spinach, and broccoli are great sources of both calcium and vitamin K, while tomatoes, potatoes, and raisins supply magnesium.

Nutrients for bone health are easy to incorporate into everyday meals. For breakfast, try yogurt with fresh fruit and raisins, or whole-grain cereal with vitamin D fortified milk. For lunch, a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup and a spinach salad supplies magnesium, calcium, and vitamin K. For dinner, grilled fish with stir-fried broccoli, mustard greens, or kale, with a side of brown rice and a glass of milk provides magnesium, calcium, and vitamin K. There are plenty of ways to get creative with bone-healthy, nutrient rich foods. Dairy products can easily be incorporated into a wide variety of meals by adding milk to a soup or beverage, yogurt to a sauce or salad dressing, and cheese into a sandwich or casserole. Leafy greens can be used in salads, stir-fries, and gratins, and even blended into shakes and smoothies for an added nutritional boost.

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