Parkinson’s power foods: one-day menus to nourish your brain and body

Recipes & nutrition

Author: Kathrynne HoldenPublished: 9 August 2017

Parkinson's LifePrep: -Parkinson's LifeCook: -Parkinson's LifeServes: -

Kimchi Korean food

In part two of her piece on how to enrich the microbiome and help reduce Parkinson’s symptoms, Kathrynne Holden – our regular guest dietician – looks at nutritious and varied meal plans that are great for the whole body

By assembling meals that are planned to provide nutrients which fight Parkinson’s and support health, you can do something each day to fortify your mind and body.

The one-day menus will help you choose the foods that best nourish your brain, muscles, bones and organs. You don’t need to eat these exact meals, just use them as guidelines.

Menu 1:

For people using levodopa
*NOTE: Take levodopa 30–60 minutes before eating.


– Whole-grain hot cereal such as oatmeal, cooked barley flakes, or Seven-Grain Cereal

– Milk (if sensitive to milk protein, choose a milk alternative such as almond, soy, or rice milk)

– Fruit juice (unsweetened)

– Coffee or tea

Protein-free snack

– Water kefir

– Two portions of fresh fruit (banana, grapes, chopped pineapple, sliced oranges, kiwifruit or other fruit of choice)


– Sandwich on whole-grain bread, sliced turkey, cheese, lettuce, mayonnaise

– Devilled egg

– Deli-style fermented pickle

– Milk, milk alternative or fruit juice

– Coffee or tea

Low-protein snack

– A handful of peanuts or roasted cashew nuts

Evening meal

– Miso soup

–Stir-fry of shrimp, snow peas, carrot, mushroom and onion

– Kimchi

– Brown rice

– Soy sauce

– Dates or figs

How did we do?

For the body, brain and nervous system: Wheat or oat cereal, milk, fruit (and fruit juice), whole-grain bread, turkey, cheese, egg, nuts, shrimp, vegetables, brown rice, dried dates and figs.

Prebiotic foods: Whole-wheat, banana, lettuce, peanuts, cashew nuts, onion.

Probiotic foods: Water kefir, fermented pickle, miso soup, kimchi.

Menu 2:


– Fried or poached egg

– Sausage patty

– Whole-wheat toast with butter

– Yoghurt with sliced banana

– Fruit juice

– Coffee or tea

Low-protein or protein-free snack

– Smoothie made with fruit and a milk alternative (almond milk, etc.)

– Rye or whole-grain cracker with peanut butter


– Lentil or split pea soup

– Whole-grain crackers

– Cheese

– Mediterranean olives

– Vegetable juice

– Coffee or tea

Protein-free snack

– Popcorn

Evening meal

– Grilled salmon

– Cooked quinoa or baked potato with butter

– Asparagus

– Sliced tomato

– Sauerkraut

– Whole-grain dinner roll

– Cantaloupe half

How did we do?

For the body, brain and nervous system: Eggs, sausage, whole-grain bread, yoghurt, banana, fruit (and fruit juice), whole-grain crackers, peanut or almond butter, lentil or split pea soup, cheese, olives, popcorn, salmon, quinoa or baked potato, asparagus, tomato, whole-grain dinner roll, cantaloupe.

Prebiotic foods: Whole-wheat toast, banana, peanut butter, lentil or split pea soup, asparagus, tomato.

Probiotic foods: Yoghurt, sauerkraut.

fresh fruits and vegetablesMenu 3:

For people using rasagiline

*Note: All vegetables and fruits should be fresh, not overripe; meat, poultry and fish should be fresh, not aged or smoked, or else canned or frozen and eaten immediately after opening or thawing. Eggs, cooked dried beans, peas, and small quantities of nuts and peanut butter are safe. Avoid aged cheeses and meats and foods containing meat extracts such as bouillon or beef broth, fermented soy products such as tofu, soy sauce and miso, other fermented foods except for yoghurt, which is safe. Since fermented foods are limited, you may wish to consider a probiotic supplement, such as gelcaps. See also my tyramine booklet for more information.


– Oatmeal with milk

– Orange juice (fresh, or frozen and reconstituted)

– Coffee or tea


– Whole-wheat blueberry muffin with butter


– Tuna salad sandwich on whole-wheat bread

– Raw carrot, celery, radishes

– Fresh milk, vegetable juice, coffee or tea


– Plain yoghurt, with sliced banana and honey

Evening meal

– Beef steak (fresh, not aged)

– Brussels sprouts, lightly steamed with fresh lemon juice

– Baked sweet potato with butter and honey

– Whole-grain dinner roll with butter

– Baked apple with maple syrup

How did we do?

For the body, brain and nervous system: Oatmeal, milk, whole-wheat toast, whole-wheat blueberry muffin, tuna, whole-wheat bread, raw vegetables, milk or vegetable juice, yoghurt, banana, beef, Brussels sprouts, sweet potato, whole-grain dinner roll, baked apple.

Prebiotic foods: Oatmeal, whole-wheat toast, muffin, bread, banana, sweet potato.

Probiotic foods: Yoghurt.

Menu 4:


– Eggs (cooked as you like)

– Fresh sausage

– Whole-wheat toast with butter

– Mixed berry compote (fresh, or thawed from frozen)

– Coffee or tea


– Cottage cheese, cantaloupe


Vegetable soup (made with fresh ingredients including legumes, but no aged meats or meat extracts)

– Whole-grain crackers

– Fresh milk, vegetable juice, coffee or tea


– Yoghurt smoothie with banana and honey

Evening meal

– Grilled shrimp with whole-grain linguine, extra-virgin olive oil, garlic

– Fresh spinach salad

­– Roasted carrots

– Whole-grain garlic bread

– A few pieces of dark chocolate

How did we do?

For the body, brain and nervous system: Eggs, sausage, whole-wheat toast, berry compote, cottage cheese, cantaloupe, vegetable soup, whole-grain crackers, milk or vegetable juice, yoghurt, banana, shrimp, whole-grain linguine, spinach, carrots, garlic bread, chocolate.

Prebiotic foods: Whole-wheat toast, vegetable soup with legumes, banana, garlic, chocolate.

Probiotic foods: Yoghurt.

Choose Parkinson’s-fighting foods; avoid anti-nutrients such as refined grains and sugar, highly-processed foods, and toxic pesticides and herbicides. Eating the best possible foods will support your brain and nervous system, your microbiome, heart, muscles and bones. You will have more energy, feel more alert during the day, and sleep better at night.

About the author

Kathrynne Holden, MS, RD (retired) is author of “Eat Well, Stay Well with Parkinson’s Disease”, “Cook Well, Stay Well with Parkinson’s Disease” and the NPF booklet ‘Nutrition Matters’. See her website at for more Parkinson’s-related nutrition information.

Read more: How to choose the best nutrient-rich foods for Parkinson’s – Part one

Parkinson’s and malnutrition: what are the risks and how do you prevent it?

Go Back

Share this story


Related articles

Jimmy Choi American Ninja Warrior lead


Parkinson’s Life 2017 highlights

The best of 2017


Special reports

Reimagining Parkinson’s healthcare: a patient-focused plan

A recent report suggests eight ways to improve Parkinson’s treatment

A woman ties her shoelaces, with a smartphone on the floor beside her.

Resources & Tools

Five more apps for people with Parkinson’s

Access Parkinson’s disease support on your smartphone