Appetite reminds us to eat and is regulated by a complex structure of hormones and neurons. Our senses play a vital role in triggering hormones and neurons to tell us to eat and also contribute to the enjoyment of food. Most people with Parkinson’s have a reduced sense of smell (and some also experience a reduction in taste). When we are hungry CB1 receptors located in the brain and nervous system are stimulated activating the olfactory bulb and cortex which are responsible for smell. It has been found that people with a low sense of smell have reduced appetite whilst a heightened sense of smell may contribute to obesity. A lack of appetite can often lead to poor diet quality and result in low consumption of nutrients known to help slow the progression of Parkinson’s and also support all-round well being.
Thinking ahead and creating a meal plan for the week will help maintain a well balanced diet. Think about portion size to maintain a healthy weight, amount and timing of protein, essential vitamins and mineral plus antioxidants. If you know the foods you would like to include but are stuck for what to do with them visit www.bbcgoodfood.com. On the homepage there is search box where you can enter your ingredient. Recipes also provide useful information on calories and protein.
With a reduced sense of smell and possibly taste, the visual appearance of a meal becomes more important for creating enjoyment. There is truth in the expression that we eat with our eyes. Texture can also add to enjoyment. When deciding on a meal think about variety in both colour and texture. The roasted Mediterranean vegetables from 17th July’s blog will brighten up any meal and simple beetroot and carrot salad from 6th August will add crunch and texture. Or spice up your eggs with this visual delight from Jamie Oliver.
Poached egg, avocado & seeded toast
• Olive oil
• 1/2 – 1 fresh red chile
• 2 large eggs
• 2 ripe tomatoes
• 1/4 of a small red onion
• 1 lime
• 1/2 of a ripe avocado
• 2 thick slices of whole-wheat bread with seeds
• 4 sprigs of coriander
Lay a 12-inch sheet of good-quality plastic wrap flat on a work surface and rub with a little olive oil. Finely slice half the chile and scatter in the center of the sheet, then carefully crack an egg on top. Pull in the sides of the plastic wrap and, importantly, gently squeeze out any air around the egg. Tie a knot in the plastic wrap to secure the egg snugly inside. Repeat with the remaining chile and the second egg, then put the parcels to one side (this whole process is easier than it sounds!). Place a pan of water on a medium heat and bring to a simmer. Use a sharp knife to remove the core from the tomatoes, then drop them into the simmering water for just 40 seconds. Remove to cold water, then peel and chop into eighths, discarding the seedy center. Place in a bowl with 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil. Peel and coarsely grate in the onion, mix together, then season to taste with sea salt, black pepper, and half the lime juice. Poach the eggs in the simmering water for around 6 minutes for soft-boiled, or until cooked to your liking.
Meanwhile, peel the avocado and remove the stone. Mash up the avocado with the remaining lime juice and season. Toast the bread, then divide and spread the avocado on it like butter, and spoon over the dressed tomato. Unwrap your eggs and place them on top, then finish with the coriander leaves.