Nutrition can play an important role in cerebrovascular health after experiencing a stroke. Offering elderly stroke survivors nutrient-dense foods may promote healing while reducing the risk for a second event. Here are six healthy foods stroke survivors can and should eat.
1. Fresh Fish
Fresh fish, especially fresh fatty fish such as salmon, is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. These essential nutrients are thought to play an important role in lowering blood pressure, increasing high-density lipoproteins—or “good cholesterol”—and reducing the risk for a cardiac arrhythmia. Omega-3 fatty acids also decrease platelet aggregation, lowering the risk for dangerous blood clot formation. Before offering large amounts of fatty fish to your senior loved one, talk to his or her doctor. If your loved one takes aspirin or prescription anticoagulants, eating too much fish may raise the risk for abnormal bleeding.
2. Dark Chocolate
Consuming dark chocolate in moderation may keep your loved one’s arteries healthy, lowering the risk for a second stroke while keeping blood pressure within normal limits. If your loved one has a history of diabetes, talk to the physician before offering your loved one dark chocolate. While consuming large amounts of dark chocolate isn’t recommend for those with high blood glucose levels, eating it in moderation may not be harmful, and in fact may have a positive effect on glycemic control.
If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of in-home care. Columbus Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services.
Oranges are rich in vitamin C and high in potassium. Stroke survivors often have high blood pressure, and they may have poor circulation and ankle edema as a result. The potassium in oranges may prevent hypertension, enhance circulation, and relieve edema of the ankles. If your loved one has heartburn or acid reflux disease, eating oranges or drinking orange juice may further exacerbate the symptoms. If this happens, substitute oranges for bananas, another potassium-rich fruit. Bananas are less likely to cause upper digestive problems.
Beans are an excellent source of fiber and may prevent constipation in stroke survivors with neurological deficits. Eating beans may also help seniors maintain better control over their blood sugar levels if they have diabetes. Also high in protein, beans are a low-fat food option that can help seniors maintain their muscle strength. If your loved one has difficulty digesting beans or experiences gas pains after eating beans, try soaking them overnight, as this may prevent gas formation in the gastrointestinal tract.
Senior stroke survivors often need help with healthy meal prep and other everyday tasks. Recovering from a stroke, managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and a variety of other health-related situations can make it difficult for a senior to continue living at home without someone there to help. Columbus live-in care professionals are trained to help seniors who need 24/7 assistance. With the help of a live-in caregiver, your elderly loved one can maintain a higher quality of life while aging in place.
Walnuts are high in magnesium, which can ease the pain of spastic muscles caused by neurological damage after a stroke. Magnesium-rich foods such as walnuts can also promote restful sleep while relieving symptoms of anxiety and depression, which aren’t uncommon in elderly stroke survivors. If your loved one has swallowing difficulties related to the stroke, chop up the walnuts or grind them up in a food processor to sprinkle over oatmeal or other soft foods.
6. Low-Fat Yogurt
Elderly stroke survivors may experience gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea and constipation. Eating low-fat yogurt repopulates the gut with “good bacteria,” which may also support the immune system. Low-fat yogurt is also a good source of protein, which may promote wound healing in seniors who have decubitus or stasis ulcers as a result of limited mobility or impaired circulation.
Eating healthy is just one of the many important considerations to keep in mind during stroke recovery. Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted home care service provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Trust Home Care Assistance to provide high-quality compassionate, professional care for your loved one. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (614) 481-8888.