After a Stroke, What Foods & Vitamins Heal the Brain?

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Eating a healthy diet is important for anyone, but especially for those individuals who have suffered from a stroke. By eating a health-promoting diet full of nutritional foods, you can quicken the process of healing your brain. Along with this brain-healing, you can improve your overall health, and reduce your risk of suffering a future stroke.

Facts

Strokes are the result of a clogged artery that prevents your brain from receiving oxygen. High blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease all can put you at risk for a stroke. Foods and vitamins used to heal the brain are basically the same as those used for living heart-healthy–low in salt, cholesterol, trans fat and saturated fat. Brain-healing foods are high in the antioxidant vitamins E and C, and vitamin A.

Brain-Healing Foods

Foods high in fiber and phytonutrients are brain-healing foods. Whole grains such as oats, whole wheat, brown rice, bulgur and bran provide both fiber and nutrients. So do beans and legumes. Omega-3-rich foods like sardines, tuna and wild salmon are beneficial. Foods high in antioxidants such as blueberries, carrots and leafy dark green vegetables are brain nutrient powerhouses. Seeds and nuts like ground flaxseeds, walnuts and almonds are additional foods that provide health benefits.

Cooking Methods

While it is important to know what foods and vitamins to consume while you recuperate from a stroke, learning health-promoting cooking methods also is vital. Steaming is the quickest and healthiest way of cooking to heal the brain (or any other health concern). Poaching, broiling and baking foods are other easy and healthy ways to cook. Grilling is popular during warmer weather, and also is a brain-healthy way to rid meat of grease.

Considerations

According to the American Stroke Association, lowering blood pressure levels is a benefit while recuperating from a stroke. You can do this by limiting your salt intake. The average individual should eat less than 2,300 mg of salt daily. Individuals at greater risk for suffering a stroke need to consider not eating more than 1,500 mg daily. High-risk individuals include middle- to older-aged adults, African Americans and those with high blood pressure levels.

Warning

The American Heart Association (AHA) does not recommend taking vitamin supplements to help heal your brain after a stroke. The AHA website states not enough research has been done in this area. “Eating a variety of foods low in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol will provide a natural source of these vitamins, minerals and fiber,” according to the AHA. You also should be aware of the importance of reading labels. Knowing the content of what you consume is imperative to properly heal after a stroke.

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References

  • Healing Foods; Patricia Hausman & Judith Hurley; 1989
  • Treasury of Health Secrets; Bottom Line Publications; 2007
  • USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference; USDA; 2008
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