If we had a dollar for every time we heard, “you are what you eat,” we’d all be rich. But there is an important lesson in this message, and it becomes all the more relevant when thinking about stroke recovery. We all know that exercise and exercise intensity are essential for rehabilitation. But if we want to get the most out of our training, we need to optimize our nutritional intake. Nutrition and stroke recovery go hand in hand.
How to get the most out of our efforts
Studies show that many stroke patients struggle to get enough calories and the right nutrition to support their recovery after they leave the hospital. Every patient’s needs are different. Age, gender, and weight all need to be taken into account to customize a nutrition plan appropriately. However, even with these plans in place, getting the proper nutrients can be hard.
That’s where supplementation comes in. But can supplementing your diet really lead to a better recovery and reduce the risk of a second stroke? Research says it can. When a patient is malnourished, sometimes a little help through vitamins and minerals goes a long way. As to what supplements are best suited to fit the specific needs of stroke patients? Researchers decided to find out.
What kind of vitamins and minerals do you need?
A group of researchers from New York looked at what vitamins and minerals best support the needs of stroke patients. They found evidence that vitamins C and E, omega- 3 fatty acids, high soluble and insoluble fiber, and certain herbs and spices such as basil and chili pepper all have anti-inflammatory effects that can reduce the risk of a second stroke. The researchers found that vitamins B and D improved stroke recovery by reducing the risk of depression. And minerals like potassium and magnesium were shown to support neurological recovery. The strongest evidence pointed to the benefits of vitamins C and E, potassium, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
How to get your nutrition right and stick with the plan
In order to adapt to nutritional changes and stay motivated, you need support. Knowing what to do is the first step, but sticking to the plan is the crucial next step. The researchers discovered that patients who received motivational coaching were more successful in following their program, and in turn, had more successful recovery rates. Therefore, they recommend finding a coach. Because you need to change your behavior to adapt to a nutritional plan, someone holding you accountable can keep you on track and keep you motivated.
Strokemark understands that finding the right coach and support can be tricky. That’s why we are making things more simple and straightforward for you. We combine exercises with nutritional advice to help you speed up your recovery in our Strokemark app. Check it out and see how we can help you!
The lead author of this study was Adam C. Lieber, from the Department of Neurosurgery, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York.