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Diet for Stroke Patients

A stroke occurs when blood supply to any part of the brain is interrupted. It is sometimes also called a brain attack or cerebrovascular accident (CVA). When a blood vessel in the brain bursts or gets blocked the blood flow to the brain gets affected resulting in a stroke. Hemorrhagic stroke and ischemic stroke are the two major types of stroke. In order to prevent a stroke diet modifications are extremely important.
Studies have shown that accumulation of saturated and partially hydrogenated fats is one of the main reasons for a stroke. These fats should therefore be completely avoided in the daily diet. On the other hand dark green leafy vegetables are rich in fibers which can prevent the accumulation of plaque in the walls of the blood vessels and should therefore be included in an anti stroke diet. Stroke patients should also concentrate on consuming mainly lean meats from which excess fats have been drained away. To avoid stroke diet soda consumption must also be stopped completely or kept to a bare minimum. People who regularly drink sodas are always at a higher risk of stroke as compared to those who don’t. Drinking diet coke can increase your chances of suffering a stroke by 61% and therefore to avoid suffering a stroke diet coke intake must be completely stopped. This is also one of the main reasons why so many youngsters and middle-aged people are suffering strokes these days. Bad eating and drinking habits are the prime culprits for this medical condition. Therefore to prevent a stroke diet drinks and sodas should be eliminated completely from the diet.

After suffering a stroke an individual needs to make significant changes in his diet and lifestyle. Two of the main changes for stroke treatment include eating healthy and losing weight. Foods which are rich in saturated fats, cholesterol, sodium and concentrated sweets should all be completely avoided in a post stroke diet. Dietary changes can be frustrating and difficult for most people but are necessary none-the-less to maintain good health. With the help of some innovative stroke diet recipes and food variations, these diet changes can be made more interesting and less monotonous. To avoid a stroke fruits and vegetables must be consumed regularly. A higher intake of fruits and vegetables in the daily diet can help in lowering the risk of stroke and also prevent its recurrence by almost 30%. To prevent stroke foods to eat everyday should include citrus fruits and broccoli which are high in fiber and folic acid which is very helpful in stroke prevention. Blueberry is another helpful anti stroke fruit which should be consumed regularly.  It is also high in anti-oxidants which are vital for the body. Potatoes and meats should be eaten in moderation and need not be completely eliminated from the diet.

Foods to Avoid Stroke

On the other hand to prevent a stroke foods to avoid include trans fatty foods like processed foods, bakery items and hydrogenated oils, sugary foods and butter. These foods are rich in saturated fats which can raise cholesterol levels in the body making a person more susceptible to a stroke. While following a stroke diet it is also better to use extra virgin olive oil for cooking foods as compared to other saturated and hydrogenated oils. After suffering from stroke foods for recovery should be low in salt, cholesterol, trans fats and saturated fats. Foods which are rich in vitamins A, C and E have good antioxidants which are helpful in healing the brain. Foods like whole wheat, oats, bran, and brown rice contain vital phytonutrients and fiber which are important fro a person recovering from a stroke. Fish such as sardines, salmon and tuna which are rich in omega 3 should also be included in the daily diet. Green leafy vegetables, carrots, nuts and seeds like flaxseeds, almonds and walnuts are all beneficial in a stroke recovery diet. While recovering from a stroke it is also healthier to use cooking methods like steaming, poaching, baking and broiling which do not eliminate essential nutrients from food. What you eat is not only important to recover from a stroke but also important to prevent recurring strokes.

In the case of a stroke nutrition plays a very important role not only in preventing a stroke but also in recovering from a stroke. Good nutrition has a major effect on the outcome and course of patient’s life and recovery. If good nutrition is not provided to a stroke patient it can lead to further health problems like malnutrition, dehydration, urinary tract infections and other illnesses. Therefore in the best interest of the patient it is advisable to design a good post stroke nutrition therapy program so that a tailor made diet can be worked out for the patient. This will help the patient not only to recover physically but also mentally. In addition to following a good diet plan it is also important to keep in mind certain post stroke nutrition guidelines which can be of great help in the patient’s recovery. Whole milk products, butter, margarine, fatty meats and fried foods should be completely omitted from a stroke patient’s diet. Instead soy products, lean meats, fish and legumes should be included in the right proportions. Salt intake should be limited to 2300 mg per day and alcoholic drinks should also be avoided as far as possible. Many stroke patients also have difficulty chewing and swallowing their food. Therefore after a stroke pureed meals may be helpful to such patients. Sometimes extra sauce and gravies can also be added to the food to make it easier to eat. In other cases liquids may also need to be thickened in order to prevent the patient from breathing them into the lungs. Therefore pureed foods and thickened drinks and juices need not be boring and tasteless but can be made flavorful and healthy with some good preparation ideas. Good nutrition not only provides essential nutrients to a patient’s body but also helps the body recover from the negative effects of a stroke.
Submitted on January 16, 2014