A stroke or a brain attack, as it is commonly called, occurs either because of inadequate blood supply to the brain or because of a sudden rupture and bleeding from a blood vessel in the brain. A stroke causes temporary or permanent physical as well as psychological changes in the person.
During the rehabilitation process, the individual goes through various therapies namely, physical, mental, and speech therapy. Apart from these therapies, dietary modifications play an important role during the recovery period. The diet must provide nourishment, must be low on fat and high in protein, must help in recovery, and if possible minimize the chances of stroke in future.
Here are the top 5 foods that absolutely must be included in the diet of a stroke patient
Oily fishes such as salmon, rainbow trout, sardines, and mackerel are rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. This aids in preventing blood clot formation, thereby reducing the risk of stroke. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid helps in lowering triglycerides, which lowers the risk of a cardiovascular and neurological event like stroke. It is also seen that a higher dose of omega-3 fatty acids helps in a modest decline of blood pressure. Try and include at least two servings of 75 grams of fish in the diet weekly.
Oats are a rich source of glucan; a viscous, soluble fiber that is known for its cholesterol-lowering properties. It is also linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases. B-glucan acts by soaking up cholesterol and thereby preventing plaque formation in blood vessels. Thus, the blood flow is smooth, and the risk of developing stroke also diminishes simultaneously. It has also been found that consuming oats for even a short duration plays a significant role in controlling blood sugar levels as well as helps in reducing weight. Obesity, diabetes and increased lipid levels are risk factors for stroke that can be taken care of by including just 50-100 grams of oats every day in your meals. Other whole grains like barley, rye, millet, and quinoa are also rich sources of carbohydrates.
Nuts like walnuts, pecans, and almonds are rich sources of vitamin E. Vitamin E is known for its anti-inflammatory effects, role in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, and protective function against neurodegenerative diseases. It also acts as an antioxidant, thereby protecting the heart and brain cells from molecular damage. Walnuts are rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and have significant amounts of alpha-linolenic acid, which is the plant source of omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that a daily intake of a handful of these nuts helps in balancing blood cholesterol levels. Research has also shown that walnut peptides may have a protective effect on neurodegenerative diseases in the elderly by its action of reducing inflammatory responses and modulating antioxidant system.
Richly colored berries like blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, strawberries, etc. are abundant sources of antioxidants called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are plant constituents that protect nerve cells and help in reducing the damage caused to the brain due to oxidation and free radicals. They also slow down the cognitive decline through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Research conducted over the years has shown that berries help in maintaining cognitive health by protecting nerves, aiding the communication between neurons and improving the flexibility of nerve structures. Berries improve the stress tolerating capacity of nerves and maintain the healthy functioning of glial cells in the brain, which are vital for optimal brain functioning. Hence, it is extremely important that you include at least a cup serving of at least one of these berries in your daily diet.
5. Green vegetables
Green and leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, cabbage, kale, collards, etc. are known for their heart friendly benefits because of the vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants they contain. Recently, a study found that consuming these cruciferous and green leafy vegetables lowers the cognitive decline and improves general cognition and memory. Therefore, have at least 1/2 cup of green vegetables daily.
Including the above-mentioned foods in your diet ensures the supply of the necessary nourishment for the speedy recovery of your brain. Other factors like regulating your blood pressure, managing your sugar levels, exercising regularly, quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding alcohol also help in speedy recovery and reduce the risk of another stroke.