5 Diet Tips for Stroke Recovery

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Prepare to make adjustments.

Recovering from a stroke isn’t easy, and no one expects you to make a go of it immediately. In addition to having some cognitive difficulties, your body is probably going to be pretty worn out too. Some days it might seem like just trying to make a meal is too much. 

If you’re feeling well enough to take care of yourself, but still get worn out easily, work around it—find easy-to-prepare, nutritious options. Buy healthy things that are easy to make, like frozen vegetables, pre-cut fruits, and pre-cooked lean meats. Keep a stock of supplemental drinks (like Ensure) that can give a big nutritional boost without much effort—just keep an eye on how much sugar you're drinking in those. 

 

Instead of trying to prepare three big meals each day, it may be easier to make and eat five or six smaller ones instead. Conversely, you can try making a large amount of food a couple of times a week and eat on leftovers the rest of the time—making healthy, homemade meals even easier to access. 

If you aren’t totally at the top of your cooking game, it’s okay to ask for help. If you have a loved one or caregiver to help you out, ask them to prepare meals you can freeze and easily warm up without getting worn out. Senior centers and programs like Meals on Wheels are also available in many areas that cater to folks who need assistance by providing them with pre-made meals. 

Did you know...

  • Are you currently or often tired? As contradictory as it may sound, one of the best things you can do is exercise! It gives you more energy by improving your blood flow and increasing your oxygen throughout your body. You don't need to do much; a brisk walk is all it takes!
  • Have you ever told your husband something and he promptly forgets it? It's not his fault, actually. It really is because he's a man. The hippocampus (the part of the brain that deals with memory) begins to shrink with age faster in men than it does in women. That's why you can remember everything, and he can't!
  • Just saying the words "thank you" can measurably improve your mood. Researchers can actually measure happiness and changes in brain structure when people practiced regular "grateful thinking." This included things like writing thank you notes, writing gratitude journal entries, mindfully counting their blessings, and thanking friends. It may be helpful in overcoming depression!
  • Does your job make you stressed? We all know that stress is psychologically bad for you, but it also has an effect on…your allergies? A Harvard Medical School study has shown that stress causes your allergies to become worse because your body's defense response loses efficacy when repeatedly triggered by stress. Then, when you really need to physically fight something off, you're less able to!
  • Starting to feel claustrophobic? The smells of apples may help keep your claustrophobic feelings at bay according to a 1995 study by Dr. Alan Hirsch. Green apples, specifically, helped people change their perception of their space. Maybe they thought of expansive apple orchards? Cucumbers and barbecue made the feelings worse.