KARACHI: Aga Khan University Hospital dietician Sidra Raza advised patients of Parkinson’s disease to consume fresh fruits instead of canned ones.
She was addressing the monthly support group meeting, comprising people with Parkinson’s, at Aga Khan Sports and Rehabilitation Centre. The free-of-charge support group discusses different topics related to the disease on the first Thursday of every month. This month, constipation and nutrition for Parkinson’s patients was discussed.
According to the website of the US National Library of Medicine, Parkinson’s disease is a type of movement disorder. It happens when nerve cells in the brain do not produce enough of a chemical called dopamine.
She emphasised the need to eat natural fruits instead of canned ones as they lack fibre. She also stressed the importance of eating fruits and vegetables without removing the skin. The group members, belonging to the elderly age group, sat facing the projector, listening to Raza in the classroom set-up.
Raza suggested that meals should be started with salads as they make a layer around the intestine that helps digest the food. “Home chores don’t qualify as exercise,” she said. “One should walk so much that they sweat and their body hurts a bit. That is exercise.” She further emphasised that natural cure should be preferred over medicinal one. She encouraged the patients to use brown bread and foods with more fibre.
“Before sleeping and right after waking up, drink lukewarm milk with one spoon of Psyllium husk locally known as ispaghol,” said Raza, while talking about how to deal with constipation. “It will help you regulate your stomach. But don’t do it every day if your stomach is working well.”
According to her, there is no specific diet for Parkinson’s patients. “It depends on each patient what they need,” she said.
The group members and their attendants also participated in the discussion. “We never stop to think when we buy rice or bread how important brown bread is,” said Farida Hussain, the wife of 73-year-old Aziz Hussain, who suffers from Parkinson’s.
Talking about the importance of the group, 64-year-old Shahida, who contracted the disease eight years ago, shared her experience of four years as a member. “Physiotherapy was costly so I was advised to join this group,” she said. “It has helped a lot.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2015.