Adapting the Mediterranean or MIND diet means getting support from whomever you live with. It’s far better and more likely to be successful over the longer-term.
WHY? Look, either diet excludes many foods which are the staple of many family’s typical eating patterns. And frankly, adapting these diets will likely increase your family food budgets. For example, these diets exclude pasta night and pizza night which are typical and cost much less than salads with fresh produce or fresh fish. That said, tell me what’s more important than your health, particularly after taking a hit from a stroke?
Let’s explore some of the foods which should be eaten to better your health.
Spinach and other dark green leafy lettuce leaves are great to improve your mood. They contain magnesium which raises your serotonin levels which has been linked to boosting your mood. Remember, in stroke recovery feeling depressed stops progress and being in a bad mood is no good for you and anyone around you. And fresh leafy vegetables look so inviting and happy!
Beans and Seeds
No, I know you are not a bird! But, pumpkin seeds, beans, brazil nuts and chick peas are all great foods which fill you up and are brain boosters. They are all magnesium rich foods sure to put a smile on your face if you give them a chance.
Salmon is an omega-3 rich food which has been shown to lower depression. You want the wild salmon rather than the farm breed, and less expensive, variety. I realize the wild version is more expensive but if you were a salmon fish, and you were breed on a farm would you be happy? The wild tastes better and to my way of thinking is more healthful. Besides eating salmon ever so often, I take two omega-3 supplements daily.
A delicacy, so again, money can be an issue. Oysters help with zinc, which again mitigates depression. Other foods that are rich in zinc are our friendly beans, chick peas, cashews, and beef, but remember, make it lean. Also, when I feel a cold coming on, right away, I take zinc.
Eaten in moderation, beef is good if lean. Think flank steak, which has been butchered to remove as much fat as possible. Here is a place to get some needed protein. But forget the bloody and fatty cuts!
From a health benefit perspective, blueberries lead the list. High in antioxidants, these berries are your classic brain builder food. Blueberries help with brain pathway activation, are helpful from an antiaging perspective, increase cognition and don’t these little berries shine with happiness. And though blueberries seem to stand out, eat strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries also. They are all good for you. If you have to have ice cream for desert, throw some over the ice cream, but better yet have sherbet or ices, and then put the berries on top. Beautiful!
We take them! What you are doing here is introducing good bacteria to your body for improving your digestive system. People who take probiotics report improved mental attitude as well as stress reduction. All issues that contribute to the onset of depression.
I’m saving the best for last!
Have some dark chocolate, but with at least 60 or 70% cocoa. That leaves out the milk and white chocolate. Skip the very sugary varieties which are associated with unhealthy brain health and for sure, the chocolate with high fructose corn oil or other processed ingredients. If you use chocolate syrup on top of ice cream, for example, look at the ingredients to see how many unhealthy ingredients are included. You may be surprised to find that there is no, or very little cocoa. Too much sugar and processed ingredients. Look for something else.
Chocolate, the right kind which is the high antioxidant variety, can be helpful with mitigating depression, and seems to increase feelings of contentment. Typically, I’ll finish off my dinner with a square or two of dark chocolate.
Stroke, or no stroke, you can have a good life as we were in Norway this past December. There we were up in the Arctic Circle with good eating habits, which do make a difference.
I started this blog post making the point that to successfully adapt a new eating pattern is best accomplished with support rather than argument from those living in your four walls. Frankly, easier said, than done! Compromise and tolerance are a great start.
If you need some coaching we are here to assist you maximize your recovery.