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Foods for Stroke Patients

By August McLaughlin ; Updated August 14, 2017

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to a part of your brain is blocked or reduced, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and needed nutrients. Stokes can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention. They are, however, treatable. According to the Cleveland Clinic, a healthy diet after a stroke is important for recovery as well as for preventing potential future strokes.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables provide an array of beneficial nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and antioxidants, which support a healthy immune system. The Cleveland Clinic suggests five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily to reduce likelihood of future strokes. One serving of fruit is equal to one medium-size fruit, one 4-inch piece of banana, 1/2 cup canned fruit in natural juices, 1 cup cubed melon or berries or 4 ounces of fruit juice. One vegetable serving is equal to 1 cup fresh vegetables, 1/2 cup cooked vegetables or 6 ounces vegetable juice. Incorporate a variety of fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables to reap the broadest mix of nutrients. Antioxidant-rich foods are encouraged, especially those that are deeply colored, including cherries, berries, apples, oranges, watermelon, grapefruit, tomatoes, leafy greens, broccoli, bell peppers, onions and Brussels sprouts.

Whole Grains

Whole grains are grains that haven't had their bran and germ removed, a process which strips away valuable nutrients, so they are still rich in vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and antioxidants. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, a diet rich in whole-grain foods reduces your risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke. Incorporate a variety of whole grains such as oats, bulgur, barley, whole wheat, brown rice, wild rice, popcorn and spelt into your diet regularly to limit your risk for future strokes. When choosing breads, cereals, pasta, crackers and other carbohydrate-based foods, check food labels to ensure that whole grains are the primary ingredients for best results.

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Lean Protein

Protein is vital for muscle growth and tissue repair. Lean-protein foods, such as skinless, white-meat poultry, legumes, low-fat dairy and soy products, are also low in saturated and trans fats, which increase risk for heart disease, stroke and other conditions. When cooking or ordering protein-based foods, choose grilled, steamed or baked options, because frying adds unhealthy fat to the meal. When grilling, use modest amounts of olive oil, which is considered a healthy fat, rather than butter. Fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna or mackerel, are also good protein sources that provide omega-3 fats, essential fats the body can't make on its own. The American Heart Association recommends at least two 3-ounce servings of fish per week for optimum health.

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