The Importance of Nutrition for Stroke Recovery

We all know nutrition is important. The importance of eating foods that have plenty of vitamins and minerals and getting enough water is something that most of us learn when we are quite young. But how can this play a role in healing from a stroke and preventing dementia in stroke survivors?

The majority of foods that stroke survivors are told to eat fall into a category called MIND. MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. This diet has a focus on foods that are good for cognitive function and brain health. It has shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and improve brain function post stroke. 

So what is the MIND diet? The MIND diet focuses around 10 foods to incorporate more often, and 5 foods to limit. The foods that are recommended are nuts, berries, vegetables, leafy greens, whole grains, beans or legumes, poultry, seafood, olive oil, and red wine and the foods to avoid are butter, red meat, sweets, cheese, and fried foods. Unlike other diets, the MIND diet does not focus on completely cutting out certain foods. The rules are simply to eat more foods that are good for brain health and to limit foods that result in a decline in brain health. The diet states that individuals can still eat the food in the unrecommended section, however it is better if those foods are limited to a few times per week depending on the food. The recommended foods are rich in healthy fats, have shown to lower inflammation, and have antioxidant properties.

Let’s talk about how this affects individuals who have had strokes. The main benefit of eating the MIND diet if you have had a stroke is reduced risk of dementia. Around 25% of individuals who have suffered a stroke, develop dementia. Research shows that the MIND diet slows the brain from aging, which results in greater cognitive function and a lower risk of developing this condition. The MIND diet is also beneficial to recovering stroke survivors as it helps to improve memory and heal brain injuries that can be a result of strokes. The diet also increases blood flow to the brain, and lowers blood pressure.

No diet can reverse the impact of a stroke, however the MIND diet has shown to reduce stroke related deficit and benefit stroke survivors in the long run. More information on the mind diet can be found bellow.

Nicole Blatta

Nicole Blatta is a 19 year old Stroke Survivor. She was drawn to the Stroke Recovery Association of Manitoba through the young stroke survivor group. Nicole is a third year university student in Asper at the University of Manitoba, working towards a degree in business with a major in marketing and a minor in entrepreneurship/small business in hopes that one day she will run her own business


MIND Diet May Slow Cognitive Decline in Stroke Survivors | Rush System 

MIND diet and the risk of dementia: a population-based study | Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy 

Stroke-Related Dementia

The MIND Diet: A Detailed Guide for Beginners 

MIND diet and the risk of dementia: a population-based study | Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy 

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