4 Nutritious Foods Caregivers Can Prepare for Stroke Patients
Stroke is a severe condition, and an article by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that more than 795,000 Americans suffer a stroke annually. Interestingly, stroke’s leading causes – high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity – can either be exacerbated or improved with eating habits. Proper nutrition is vital for two reasons if you are caring for someone undergoing stroke recovery. It gives the brain and body the nutrients it needs to bounce back and facilitates lifestyle changes that can prevent further strokes. Here are a few foods to integrate into a stroke patient’s diet.
Low Fat or No Fat Greek Yogurt
During the early stages of recovery, your patient may feel weak, making it hard for them to chew or swallow. This makes yogurt ideal – it’s soft and a great calcium and protein source. Just one serving makes up 15% of the recommended daily dose, and studies have shown that eating fermented milk products like Greek yogurt is associated with improved cardiovascular health. It also contains probiotics (or “good” bacteria) that can improve the gut microbiome and aid in recovery – learn more about yogurt’s good qualities here. While Greek yogurt is great on its own, it can be prepared as a dessert paired with fruit and healthy nuts. You can also mix it with green onions as a dip for savory dishes like grilled fish.
Whole grains like brown rice are an invaluable source of nutrients for stroke patients. Brown rice contains 3.2 grams of fiber, compared to only 0.6 grams of fiber in white rice. Fiber improves blood sugar stability, which reduces the risk of future strokes. Fortunately, rice cookers make it easy to prepare brown rice in different ways. For example, modern rice cookers, particularly from brands like Aroma, are built for variety so you can whip up several nutritious brown rice dishes. The 6-Cup Pot Style Rice Cooker comes with a tray that allows you to steam vegetables and fish while rice is cooking. Its tempered glass lid lets you monitor the food without disrupting the cooking cycle. You can read more about its other features here. Use a 1-1.75 ratio for perfectly light and fluffy brown rice so your patient won’t struggle to chew.
Fruit is ideal for stroke patients because of two things: flavonoids and antioxidants. Flavonoids have anti-inflammatory properties that can lower the risk of ischemic stroke, while antioxidants are neuroprotective agents that battle stroke-induced oxidative stress. Consider adding Vitamin C-rich citrus fruits, high-antioxidant pomegranate, and high-fiber avocados and apples into your patient’s diet. Berries are also important, particularly Blue Berries which are often cited for their healthfulness. However, since many fruits involve peeling or slicing, you can blend or puree them for a delicious, nutritious smoothie. The Nutribullet Ultra transforms whole ingredients into smoothies with one tap in 30 seconds. It comes with a personal blending cup to serve your creations immediately. When your patient regains some strength, they can even make smoothies on their own. Click here to learn more about it.
Our previous article talked about ways you can improve health without breaking the bank. You don’t have to splurge for your patient to enjoy great-tasting, healthy food. The humble egg is one versatile and affordable ingredient you can experiment with at home. Studies have shown that one egg a day can decrease the risk of total stroke. The key is how you prepare it: soft scrambled eggs will be easy to chew, and you can add spinach or diced tomatoes for nutrients. The healthy fish smoked salmon is a great addition to an omelet. Soft-boiled eggs go well with salmon and cream cheese. You can even make egg salad to use as filling for a whole-wheat sandwich.
Diet is just one aspect of stroke recovery, but it’s an extremely important one. Creating variety with healthy, delicious ingredients helps maintain your patient’s appetite and ensures they stay on the road to better health.
Article written by Roane Jenston