Maintaining a healthy diet after a stroke is one of the best ways to prevent high blood pressure, high cholesterol and reduce the likelihood of a second stroke or other heart event.
Difficulty with chewing, swallowing, hand-to-mouth coordination or a waning appetite are all challenges that stroke survivors are likely to face that can make eating and following a healthy diet more difficult. In addition to making sure your loved one is eating enough to support recovery efforts, there are also several foods that should be limited or avoided entirely.
1. Full-Fat Dairy Products
Dairy is an important part of the senior diet given that it supplies essential nutrients like Vitamin D and calcium. Rather than dining on full-fat cheeses, butter, milk, ice cream and yogurt, however, stroke survivors should look for low-fat varieties instead. These have less saturated fat and thus, they are less likely to clog the arteries. Although coconut oil is high in saturated fat and should be used in moderation, it is among one of the best butter substitutes in baked dishes, oatmeal and other fare. This oil contains natural fats that support optimal brain health and that are easily broken down and used by the body.
2. Fatty Cuts of Meat
Hourly and live-in caregivers in Scottsdale should use lean cuts of meat when preparing meals for senior stroke survivors. While red meat can still be consumed, it should be eaten in modest quantities and only after all excess fat has been trimmed. Fatty selections of fish such as mackerel, tuna and salmon are also acceptable. Much like a modest serving of coconut oil, the benefits supplied by the fats that these fish contain far outweigh the risks of consuming them.
3. Processed or Refined Snacks
Many processed and refined foods are loaded with trans-fats that can clog the arteries. Rather than eating potato chips, packaged pastries or cookies, seniors can snack on low-sodium pretzels, fresh vegetables or fruits, and limited quantities of unsalted nuts or seeds.
4. Ready-Made Sauces
Foods in brine or sauces that come ready-made are often high in sodium. Instead, try flavoring foods with fresh herbs, cracked black pepper, or garlic or onion powder instead.
5. Whole Eggs
Although eggs containing the yolks are a great source of Vitamin D, stroke survivors should dine on egg whites only or use egg substitutes instead. An alternative way to get adequate Vitamin D in the diet is by incorporating baked, roasted, or sautéed mushrooms, or taking a supplement.
6. Fast Foods
Fast foods provide very limited nutritional benefits and do more harm to the body than good. This is especially true after a stroke. Seniors should instead fill up on natural foods that are rich with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. These food choices will help repair blood vessel damage and expedite the healing process. Fast foods will not.
Carbonated sodas are high in both sugar and sodium. Not only do these beverages contribute to weight gain, but the excess sugars they contain may impact the functionality of the immune system. Keeping sodas out of the diet is a very easy way to limit a person’s sodium intake as well.
Are you providing home care for a senior loved one post-stroke? It can be a challenging task, but you don’t have to do it alone. Home Care Assistance is a leading provider of stroke care in Scottsdale and our caregivers are expertly trained to help with a wide variety of responsibilities from cooking to light cleaning and running errands to personal grooming. Give our office a call at (480) 771-2710 to learn more about what a difference home care Scottsdale.