Maintaining a healthy food intake after a stroke can reduce three risk factors for stroke, namely excessive cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and obesity or obesity. For this reason, adhering to various dietary restrictions for stroke sufferers is needed to prevent recurrence of stroke. Here I will review what foods need to be avoided and also recommended to be consumed by people after stroke plus tips to overcome post-stroke decreased appetite.
What foods for stroke sufferers need to be limited?
Basically, food restrictions for stroke patients depend on the condition of each person. However, it is better to limit, even avoid, the following types of foods:
1. Instant food in packs
Abstinence from food for the first stroke sufferer is instant food. Instant food is not recommended for stroke patients. The reason is, most instant foods in packs contain sodium nitrate and nitrite. Both of these ingredients are often used as coloring agents and preservatives in processed meats such as sausages, packaged meats, and other products. Likewise with other packaged foods such as instant noodles, potatoes, and packaging snacks.
Sodium nitrate and nitrite can damage blood vessels because it can make the arteries harden and narrow which results in heart disease and increases the risk of relapsing strokes.
2. Foods high in sugar
After a stroke you should limit foods and drinks that are high in sugar. Consumption of excess sugar can damage blood vessels and cause obesity. If both of these occur, it is not impossible for the stroke to strike again.
For that, limit your daily sugar intake. The limit for maximum sugar consumption per day is 4 tablespoons.
3. Foods high in salt
Foods high in salt contain sodium which can trigger a surge in blood pressure. If not controlled, you are prone to hypertension which can trigger a stroke to come back. For that, you need to limit salt and sodium in each dish.
Try not to consume sodium more than 1,500 milligrams per day which is equivalent to one teaspoon of salt.
4. Foods that contain saturated fat and trans fat
Bad fat consists of saturated fat and trans fat. Saturated fat can increase levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the body. Excess LDL in the body can cause fat buildup in the arteries. This can inhibit blood flow to the heart and brain which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Besides saturated fat, the fat group that should be avoided is trans fat. Trans fat is fat that is processed by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil to make it more dense. Trans fat has been shown to increase the risk of various diseases, one of them being stroke.
Here are various foods that contain saturated fats and trans fats that need to be avoided, namely:
- Processed frozen food
- Snacks (such as potato chips, packaged cassava chips, and similar snacks)
- Fast food (fried chicken, french fries, or burgers)
- Red meat
- Chicken skin
- Dairy products
5. Alcoholic drinks
Alcohol can increase blood pressure which is one of the risk factors for stroke. For that, always consult a doctor when you can consume alcohol after a stroke.
Generally, people who have had a stroke can only consume one glass of alcoholic drinks per day for women and two glasses per day for men. However, this also depends on the type of alcoholic drink you drink.
If there are other conditions besides strokes such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, it is better to consult directly with a nutritionist to get the most appropriate food guide for stroke patients.
Foods recommended for stroke patients
Given the importance of maintaining a diet after a stroke, various foods for stroke patients recommended by The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association are:
- Vegetables and fruits such as oranges, apples, pears, spinach and broccoli.
- Grains, beans, and high-fiber foods such as whole wheat bread, carrots and red beans.
- Fish meat, at least twice a week. Omega-3 fatty acids in fish have been shown to reduce the risk of stroke. Examples are tuna, wet anchovy, catfish, and tilapia.
- Lean beef and poultry and skin.
- Low-fat dairy products such as fat-free yogurt to help lower blood pressure.
In addition, foods that are rich in folic acid; vitamins B6, B12, C, and E; and foods that are high in potassium and magnesium can reduce the risk of stroke and improve body function after a stroke. Examples of foods are almonds, pumpkin seeds, tomatoes, oranges, cereals, sweet potatoes, garlic, and bananas.
Overcoming decreased appetite after a stroke
After a stroke, appetite usually drops dramatically. To overcome this, you need to implement a variety of strategies so that nutritional needs remain fulfilled.
- Cook healthy foods with delicious spices like orange leaves and other cooking spices instead of salt.
- Serve food to make it look attractive, for example, cook soup with colorful vegetables such as carrots, green vegetables and tomatoes.
- Cut food in small sizes to make it easier to chew.
- Choose foods that are soft and easy to chew like bananas, yogurt, and oatmeal.
Paying attention to food intake for stroke sufferers can prevent complications and possible recurrence of stroke. Whereas if you eat carelessly, you are also at risk of experiencing other diseases such as heart disease, cholesterol, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and kidney failure.
Besides paying attention to food, you also need to undergo a series of other healthy lifestyles such as regular exercise to keep your condition healthy and fit after a stroke.
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