There are no good strokes, but the best stroke is the one that never happens. Of course, sometimes that’s not an option. As older adults have a greater risk of strokes, it is important for them to do what they can to prevent having a stroke in the first place, or take care of themselves after one occurs. One area that the elderly have control over is their diet.
As strokes tend to happen with no warning, it is imperative to do all that you, the family caregiver, can before one happens. As diet plays a critical role in the older adult’s life, this means it’s not only important to know what to eat, it’s also important to know what not to eat.
Stroke Prevention Diet: Foods to Avoid
One of the first, “foods,” you may think about your loved one avoiding to prevent a stroke is salt. This is true to some extent. Processed salt, the type found in processed foods, or most likely on your dinner table, should be avoided. However natural salts can play an important role in their body’s health and may be included in their diet after checking with their doctor.
Red meat is another area that takes a bit more consideration. Once again there is a large difference between the typical red meat one finds in the grocery store and organically-raised, grass-fed beef. If red meat is something your loved one enjoys, go for organically-raised cuts of lean beef.
Finally, new studies are showing a link between diet soda and strokes, so if your loved one is considering a diet for stroke prevention, it may be best to avoid diet soda.
Your Diet to Prevent a Stroke: Foods to Embrace
While it is important to avoid certain foods when it comes to a diet for stroke prevention, it is also important to incorporate certain foods. These include the following:
- Unsalted nuts
- Soluble fiber such as eggplant, apples, oats, and lentils
- Whole grains in the form of cereal, bread, rice, and crackers.
All of these are considered super foods and will not only help in the prevention of strokes but also heart disease.
What to Eat After a Stroke
If an older adult has had a stroke, it is important to make modifications to their lifestyle to ensure a second stroke doesn’t follow the first. One area that is easy to control and make small, but meaningful changes to, is your older loved one’s diet.
The proper diet after a stroke is similar to the one to prevent having a stroke in the first place. After a stroke, they should consider incorporating plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits into their diet. In addition, the limiting of trans fat and saturated fat is important.
Also consider including or reducing the following in their diet after a stroke:
- Include low-fat dairy
- Reduce drinks and foods with added sugars
- Limit or eliminate alcohol
- Reduce or eliminate processed foods
- Include lean cuts of meat
While a stroke can be scary for you and your loved one, taking control over what you can control takes some of the fear out of the situation, and making dietary changes before or after a stroke can help keep your older loved one as healthy as possible.
Do you have a loved one who’s recently had a stroke? What are some dietary changes you’ve helped them to make? Let us know in the comments below!