Almost everyone has heard about the importance of getting enough vitamin D to maintain good bone density and strength. One side of the health coin suggests spending time outside absorbing direct sunshine, while the other side warns about too much exposure and the very real concern of developing skin cancer. When blood tests reveal low vitamin D levels, physicians often prescribe vitamin D in pill form.
Quoting from an article released in the August 2019 Parkinson’s News Today:
“Some studies support that lack of vitamin D results in a greater risk of falls and fractures in Parkinson’s patients, which can increase hospitalization and even fatal disability. Its levels also have been associated with cognition and mood, as well as stomach malfunction in people with the disease. …People with lower vitamin D levels were more likely to fall and experience sleep problems, including difficulty in falling asleep (insomnia). They also had significantly more depression and anxiety.”
Read more here about the effect of low vitamin D levels on Parkinson’s non-motor symptoms. Discussions with one’s doctor, including requests for blood tests to monitor vitamin D levels, are another potential add-on life-management tool.
Our September 29th “Living Well with Parkinson’s” symposium was attended by 150 people, over 20 supporting information vendors, and highlighted by four great guest speakers!
(left to right: Dr. Terry Ellis, Director, BU Center for Neurorehabilitation – Linda Nikolakopoulos, Registered Dietician and Licensed Nutritionist – Pamela Quinn, PD Dance & Coach, PD Movement Lab, New York – Dr. Albert Hung, Movement Specialist, MA General Hospital)
The printed word cannot possibly portray what became a visible energy field sparking the space provided at the Danvers Community YMCA! Included in the 4-hour program were 2 short but dynamic movement and exercise “samplers” led by Parkinson Fitness Balance and Movement instructor, Dianna Daly, and Strength, Conditioning, Boxing instructor, Kim Crowley. As they do in all their weekly classes, both women had participants willingly joining in “waking up” their bodies and minds in five minutes or less!
Drs. Hung and Ellis emphasized how to optimize time allotted during office visits and physical therapy appointments, as well as the importance of exercise in helping to maintain control over difficult body and cognitive challenges. Linda Nikolakopoulos provided insights into the role diet and nutrition play in remaining healthy and staying strong. Pamela Quinn, diagnosed with PD over 20 years ago, travelled from her own PD Movement Lab in New York (https://pdmovementlab.com/about) to demonstrate strategies for moving and living in “real-life” scenarios. Pam’s vocal exercises to strengthen communication, augmented by hand and arm movements, were a high point for everyone!
Special thanks to everyone involved in making this event an incredible opportunity for learning and participating, with special shout-outs to Lucas Michaud, our photographer from Endicott College in Beverly, to Linda Hall’s friends Sandra Moores and Mary Orne for their assistance with credit card payments, to Suzanne Malach, YMCA liaison, the vendors who supported us financially and provided valuable community information, to the team of Parkinson’s Fitness volunteers who assisted as greeters, registrars, and table helpers…and to Linda Hall, whose tireless efforts built yet another opportunity for motivating people on the North Shore to live well, in spite of their Parkinson’s diagnosis!
The following nutrition update was posted online at Parkinson’s News Today on October 30th. It originated from information provided at prevention.com
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:
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.
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 the flu.
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.
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 the 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.