Huntington’s disease is a genetic disorder that affects the nervous system and causes progressive degeneration of brain cells. One of the common symptoms of this disorder is difficulty in swallowing. Due to this, extra care needs to be taken about the food considerations for people with Huntington’s disease. This includes removing certain foods from their food regimen which can be difficult to swallow. The following are a few foods that people with Huntington’s disease must avoid.
Granola might be a convenient snacking option. However, it might not be ideal for people with Huntington’s disease. This is because granola can be difficult to swallow due to its dry texture and can increase the risk of choking.
Crumbly and sharp foods
Along with dry foods, people with Huntington’s disease should also avoid crumbly foods, as they can irritate the throat. These include chips, crackers, and crusty bread. Due to their texture, they can also exacerbate swallowing problems.
Raw fruits and vegetables
While raw fruits are nutritious, they must be avoided by people with Huntington’s disease since they are difficult to swallow. Along with that, individuals with the disorder must also avoid raw vegetables as they pose the same problem.
Individuals with Huntington’s disease may also experience reduced or loss of motor control in their face, which makes chewing difficult. Because of this, it is important for them to avoid hard foods such as nuts, which they may not be able to chew properly. One can instead opt for smooth nut butter, which may be easier to swallow.
Individuals with Huntington’s disease should avoid foods that can irritate their throats. Therefore, they must avoid consuming spicy foods or adding spices to their food.
Like spicy foods, acidic foods can also irritate the throat, which is why individuals suffering from the condition must avoid them. These include tomatoes, citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges, tangerines, etc., and their fruit juices.
Stringy foods and vegetables, such as bacon, melted cheese, tomatoes, carrots, and lettuce, can also be challenging to swallow, so people with Huntington’s disease should avoid them.
Another food that can pose a challenge in chewing as well as swallowing is dry meat, such as jerky.
Food management strategies
Along with avoiding certain foods, one can also incorporate a few food management techniques that can make it easier for individuals with the condition to chew and swallow their food and get the required nutrition. These include the following:
To help an individual with Huntington’s disease eat more easily, it is important to create a calm and relaxed environment during meals. This includes removing distractions and stress-inducing factors, such as turning off the television and avoiding discussions and arguments.
Ensuring correct posture when eating
One must also ensure an individual with Huntington’s disease sits upright while eating, as this makes it easier to swallow.
Use a blender for preparation
One can use blenders and food processors to prepare foods that are easier to consume for individuals with Huntington’s Disease. They can prepare protein shakes and pureed foods, which are significantly easier to swallow.