A stroke is called a hemorrhage in the brain or an acute violation of the blood flow in it, leading to damage or death of nerve cells. The cause of a stroke (as well as a heart attack) is rupture or blockage of the arteries due to their blocking by a blood clot or cholesterol plaque.
A stroke is caused by bad habits and their consequences - high blood pressure due to stress and smoking, obesity due to overeating and a low level of physical activity and so on (1) . Proper nutrition can improve health and well-being after a stroke.
Since high cholesterol is the most common cause of stroke, cholesterol must be controlled first. The good news is that a proper diet can restore the body by significantly lowering blood cholesterol .
The ideal solution after a stroke is to switch to vegetarianism with a complete rejection of animal fats. The logic is described in detail in the book "Chinese study" - the world's best-selling book linking meat consumption with a number of chronic diseases.
Why does vegetarianism work?
Vegetarianism improves health after a stroke for a number of simple reasons. Refusal of meat and animal products will force you to look for alternatives, increasing the number of different vegetables and cereals in the diet - it is impossible to eat “empty” rice, potatoes and pasta.
Fiber contained in vegetables has a positive effect on both the stomach and the circulatory system. There are scientific studies suggesting that a fiber-rich diet fights obesity, normalizes insulin secretion and lowers blood cholesterol (2) .
Carbohydrate glycemic index
Diabetes is another major risk factor for stroke. The reason for the development of diabetes, even in an initially healthy person, can easily become excessive consumption of sugars and carbohydrates with a high glycemic index - sweets, juices and soda.
People who have suffered a stroke are recommended not only to completely abandon desserts and sweets, but also to minimize the use of flour products (white bread and pastries). It is better to combine even cereals with a large portion of vegetables - this will lower their glycemic index.
Transition to healthy fats
If there is no transition to vegetarianism, then the diet after a stroke should exclude animal fats (sources of food cholesterol) as much as possible. Sausages, sausages, cheeses, milk and sour cream of full fat content, mayonnaise, lard, fatty meat - all these products are strictly prohibited.
The amount of vegetable oils in the diet should be increased. At the same time, sunflower, rapeseed and corn oils are not very suitable for a healthy diet due to the poor balance of Omega-6 and Omega-9 fatty acids. The best choice would be olive oil - the basis of the long-lived diet .
Benefits of Fish Oil and Omega 3
In the absence or lack of omega-3 fats in the diet, immunity decreases, metabolic processes are disturbed, and the risk of inflammation increases. In total, this is expressed in an increase in the level of bad cholesterol and the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
It is important to ensure that the nutrition after a stroke daily contains sources of Omega-3 - oily sea fish (acceptable even with vegetarianism) or flaxseed oil. An optional solution may be taking fish oil in capsules after prior approval by a doctor.
Daily calorie intake
It must be remembered that since a person after a stroke is often inactive, he needs fewer calories. Another plus of vegetarianism is manifested here - the rejection of meat and the transition to fiber-rich vegetables automatically means a decrease in calorie content.
At the same time, the feeling of fullness from a small portion of boiled potatoes and a piece of steamed meat is significantly inferior to the feeling of fullness from a large portion of vegetable stew from zucchini, tomatoes, sweet red pepper, a mixture of lentils with buckwheat and a spoonful of olive oil. Not to mention the taste.
Food after a stroke should limit (or completely exclude) animal fats and carbohydrates with a high glycemic index. The basis of the diet should be all kinds of vegetables, a variety of cereals, olive oil and sources of Omega-3.