Constipation is an unfortunate consequence of Parkinson’s. However matters can be made worse by a number of dietary factors. Here are our top 10 tips to keep things moving.
Eat little and often rather than having very big meals.
Avoid big meal just before going to bed.
Sit down to eat, think about what you are eating rather than being distracted. This will improve the release of digestive enzymes and hormones.
Consume a diet high in fibre. The daily recommended intake of fibre for adults is 30g.
Drink plenty of fluids. Aim for 1.2 litres a day, more in hot weather or if exercising.
Ensure your diet is sufficient in B vitamins, in particular B1, B2, B3, B6, vitamin E, zinc and potassium as these nutrients support the digestive system.
A probiotic or prebiotic supplement may help
Move, exercise helps ease constipation
Avoid processed foods, sugar and high protein diets which include lots of meat, eggs and dairy as these slow the digestive system and will contribute to constipation.
A bit more on fibre...
Fibre is found in food that comes from plants. There are two types of fibre – soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre dissolves in the gut and helps soften stools. Insoluble fibre does not dissolve, it adds bulk and when mixed with fluid drags other waste through the gut. Insoluble fibre and fluid work together, consuming lots of insoluble fibre and not enough fluid will just create a heavy, uncomfortable feeling.
Most food labels show fibre content but below is some general guidance for high fibre foods
All-bran cereal, 50g4.5g
Weetabix, 2 biscuits, 38g3.8g
Wholegrain rice, 75g uncooked1.6g
Bulgar Wheat, 100g cooked4.5g
Quinoa, 100g cooked2.2g
Jacket potato with skin, 200g6.7g
Whole grain bread, 1 slice3.3g
Pumpkin seeds, 2 tbsp1.0g
Almonds, 24 nuts2.0g
Lentils, 100g cooked3.3g
Baked bean, 200g7.4g
Find out more about Helen Money's nutritional advice