If you are trying to eat better foods to help recover from stroke, then you have come to the right place.
This article shares the best food for stroke patients, and it is all backed by science.
If you are looking for a healthy diet for stroke patients, be sure to include these foods with your doctor's approval.
But before we begin, we will quickly share why these foods help with recovery from stroke and brain health.
The best diet after a stroke
The following foods help with recovery from stroke because they promote protein neurotrophic factor derived from the brain (FNDC).
FNDC is a great fuel for recovery from stroke because it improves neurogenesis, which involves creating new neurons in the brain.
Neurogenesis is different from neuroplasticity, which involves reconfiguration and reorganization of the brain.
Instead, neurogenesis helps generate new cells and pathways to compensate for damage caused by a stroke.
So if you want to improve brain health and recovery after a stroke, be sure to include these foods in your diet.
1. Avoid saturated fat and refined sugar
Okay, this first one is not a food you should eat, but a couple of foods you should definitely avoid.
Studies show that saturated fats and sugar reduce FNDC, neuroplasticity and learning.
You will definitely want to avoid these foods on a healthy diet for stroke patients.
Since eating saturated fat and sugar reduces FNDC and stifles your brain's ability to develop new brain cells, which is the opposite of your stroke recovery goals.
Additionally, saturated fat and sugar promote weight gain, which is a risk factor for stroke.
How to eliminate saturated fats and refined sugars from your diet:
Saturated fat typically found in:
- Dairy products (butter, cream, milk and cheese)
- Meats, such as fatty cuts of beef, pork, and lamb.
- Processed meats like salami, sausages, and chicken skin.
- Palm oil and coconut oil.
So do your best to avoid eating these foods.
Refined sugar; it is generally found in any packaged food that has sugar in the ingredients. Be careful, refined sugar can be masked under these names:
- Inverted sugar or "racuza";
- Sugar cane;
- Evaporated cane juice;
- Corn syrup;
- Brown rice syrup.
Even organic sugar is still refined sugar, so it is best to avoid all sources.
2. Omega 3 fish
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help normalize FNDC levels and protect against reduced plasticity and poor learning after traumatic brain injury.
This is essentially the opposite of what saturated fat does to our brain, and that's great news! This means that the regeneration of brain cells increases while potential negatives decrease.
Since you want to activate neuroplasticity during recovery from a stroke, it is a great idea to focus on getting your omega-3s.
(Tip: omega 3s are one of the 7 best vitamins for stroke recovery.)
How to get more omega-3s in your diet:
Some excellent sources of omega 3 are:
- Girlfriend seeds;
- Linen seeds;
- Hemp seeds;
- Egg yolks.
So a healthy diet for stroke patients can include plenty of salmon. Did someone say fish tacos?
3. Blue berries
Blue berries are well known for their memory-enhancing qualities, but did you know that they also help stimulate neurogenesis and cognitive function?
This study showed that "blue blackberry supplementation led to an improvement in some cognitive abilities, possibly due to the impact of flavonoids on cell signaling pathways (for example, those involving FNDC).".
In other words, the flavonoids (antioxidants) of blue berries help stimulate brain function and neurogenesis. Point for the blue berries!
How to eat more blue berries in your diet:
While one of the supplements included in the study is a “flavonoid-rich blue berry drink,” we personally recommend getting your real blueberry flavonoids.
While you can enjoy fresh blue berries only, there are many other ways to include them in your diet. You can freeze them and mix them in smoothies, or you can add them to your oatmeal or morning salads.
Be that as it may, be right about your decision to eat them for a better recovery!
The best foods for stroke patients:
Now that you know the best foods that increase FNDC, we would like to share 5 excellent foods for stroke patients.
Although these foods do not specifically reinforce FNDC, they are clinically proven to improve overall brain health.
Whether you eat them or drink their juice, pomegranates are high in powerful antioxidants, which help protect you from damage caused by free radicals. Since the brain is more sensitive to free radical damage, grenades easily enter the list of the best foods for stroke recovery.
When you hear the word tomato, do you also think about lycopene? If so, we are not surprised.
Tomatoes received massive attention when they were found to be a rich source of the antioxidant lycopene.
Lycopene was found to provide neuroprotective benefits and reduce the effect of brain damage due to ischemic stroke in rats.
There are now many lycopene supplements, but we recommend that you get your lycopene directly from the source.
So tomato soup (no added sugars) is an excellent food for stroke patients.
6. Walnuts and seeds
Walnuts and seeds are a good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that is associated with less cognitive decline as we age.
(Do you notice a trend? Antioxidants are important to brain health!)
Try adding some walnuts or flax seeds (which are a good source of omega-3s that stimulate the brain) to your oatmeal or morning smoothies.
Avocados are a greasy fruit that can help you think faster.
The gray matter in your brain that processes the information depends on oleic acid to function at an optimal speed, and avocados are an excellent source of oleic acid.
Try adding a quarter of avocado to your sandwich, salad, or smoothie!
Beans help bring glucose to your brain, which is the main fuel source for your brain.
They also help stabilize blood glucose levels, stabilizing the glucose supply to your brain.
Our favorite ways to get beans are homemade hummus and black bean dip.
9. The MIND diet
We would like to end this list with a specific clinically proven diet to improve recovery from stroke: the MIND diet.
The MIND diet is a hybrid of DASH and Mediterranean diets, two diets that demonstrate protecting against neurodegenerative diseases, among many others.
The MIND diet is quite simple to follow. It simply encourages the consumption of 10 foods and discourages the consumption of 5.
The foods you should eat in the MIND healthy diet for the brain are:
- Green leafy vegetables;
- All other vegetables;
- Olive oil;
- Whole grains;
The foods that are best to avoid are:
- Butter and margarine;
- Red meat;
- Fried food;
- Cakes and sweets.
We conclude this article with the MENTE diet because it groups the best foods for stroke recovery into a single easy-to-follow plan.
Aspects to consider when choosing the best diet for stroke patients
If you are considering adding any of these healthy foods to your diet, be sure to also consider stroke risk factors.
Some risk factors for stroke, such as high cholesterol and central obesity, can worsen with fatty foods.
Although the foods on this list contain all the healthiest types of fats, they should be consumed in smaller amounts if you have other medical conditions such as high cholesterol after the stroke.
In general, these foods will help promote a healthy brain and boost recovery from stroke.
If you are considering making massive changes to your diet after a stroke, be sure to check with your doctor first.
(Reference - https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/13486-eating-well-after-a-stroke, https://strokefoundation.org.au/What-we-do/For%20survivors%20and%20carers/stroke-resources-and-fact-sheets/Diet-after-stroke-fact-sheet)
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