So you had a stroke or know someone who has. You are in rehabilitation and recovering and you’re finally thinking clearly enough to start asking, “how do I eat better to prevent a second stroke?” This is not about a diet, rather it is common sense from easy research to help you change your lifestyle.
Eating a diet low in fat and salt is an important first step as it will help reduce cholesterol and high blood pressure. Fruits and vegetables are great healthy options that will help fill you up, are known to be good for your heart and have much better nutrients than fast food or processed food. Here are some foods that a stroke patient should eat regularly:
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Grains or Breads
- Lean Protein, Primarily skinless chicken and turkey
- Low Fat Dairy Products
- Fish several times per week
- Limit Salt
- Limit Alcohol
Five or six smaller meals per day may be a better option for some survivors.
Why Certain Foods Can Decrease Your Risk of a Stroke
There are many factors that may contribute to strokes. Three of the factors are:
- High Cholesterol
- Blood Pressure
Foods high in sodium will lead to higher blood pressure. One of the first thing a doctor tends to look at is your blood pressure. They then turn to your cholesterol levels and if you’re not careful, they will soon have you several types of medication. It may be important to start on some medication to keep from dying or becoming incapacitated but the focus should be on temporary medication, not a lifetime of medication.
Obesity is primarily a function of too many calories from processed foods and a lack of physical activity. Our focus should be on making healthy changes to our diets which will help with cholesterol, blood pressure and weight loss.
The emphasis, from our point of view here, is not on joining a weight loss program immediately, but to start with a simple plan to introduce healthier foods and eliminate foods that have gotten us to the place we are today. I would strongly encourage any stroke survivor to find a Mediterranean type diet and start looking at ways to introduce it into your life. This has been a challenge for me but after several years I have finally begun to make permanent healthy improvements to my new eating lifestyle.
We all must move beyond the thought of a temporary diet and on to a permanent lifestyle change.
Food for Thought
Be aware that stroke victims may lose their appetite. It is important to make sure the person eats regularly. Serve foods that the stroke survivor likes and make sure the meal is served in a comfortable, pleasant location. Keep distractions to a minimum and watch the survivor closely for choking or other eating problems.
A healthy diet is an important part of recovery so look at this as a lifestyle change and one of the more important things that needs to be done quickly.
Also, consider that stroke survivors may need meals prepared for them as they will be more tired and easily distracted. Someone should stay with the survivor if they are well enough to live alone and watch for problems with eating, and mobility and make sure they take their recommend medication regularly.
It’s time to start eating to change your life. Let’s make that a positive change, one that will last a long time.