Brain injury can come in many different forms. From a traumatic brain injury, like a concussion to a medically acquired brain injury, such as a stroke, it can show up unexpectedly and without mercy. It doesn’t mean that you can’t do things to improve someone’s recovery after an event.
There are many foods and vitamins that play a major role in brain health, improving memory, speed healing and help develop better concentration. When you have a brain injury, either from trauma or from illness, your body will attempt to heal that area.
Give it the building blocks it needs to do it in the most efficient and effective way possible.
Natural Brain Boosters
There are several things we now know about the brain and its composition that we didn’t understand in previous generations. There are many foods that increase the brain by providing the essential minerals, vitamins and nutrients it needs to be at its best level to function.
- Fatty Fish
- Dark Chocolate
This includes salmon, tuna, sardines, and trout. The benefits to the brain that come from fatty fish actually come from the Omega-3 Fatty Acids found in the fish. Benefits include:
- Building of brain cell membranes
- Decrease harm from inflammation
- Protect brain cells
This really can translate into most any berry. Berries are known to have compounds in them that help the brain by:
- Decrease inflammation
- Increase communication between brain cells
- Decrease damage causing oxidation
Eggs have been making a comeback since we’ve learned that they are not the nutritional “bad guys” we were once told. So here are benefits to adding eggs to your diet during brain injury recovery:
- Loaded with Vitamin B-6, B-12 and Folic Acid
- Found to actually decrease brain “shrinkage”
- Decrease the rate of cognitive decline
These quick and easy snacks are loaded with Vitamin E. If you are not fond of walnuts, benefits of brain healing have also been found in almonds, pistachios and macadamia nuts. These benefit brain healing by:
- Increasing cognition
- Recent evidence points to a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s
- Loaded with DHA, shown to increase brain function
Finally, my personal favorite! I always say chocolate comes from a bean, so technically it is a vegetable. That being said, here is the beauty of implementing dark chocolate in the diet after a brain injury:
- Decreasing oxidative stress
- Encouraging neuron and blood vessel growth in the brain
- Possibly play a role in REVERSING memory problems
Try not to feel overwhelmed. Dealing with a brain injury in yourself or someone you are responsible for caring for is hard enough. When my own husband came home after a massive brain bleed, I was terrified of what my life would look like. Upping our nutrition game and adding in food that I know could be healing gave me a feeling that I did have SOME control over how this would play out.
Here is one of my favorite fish recipes. Easily combine fish and nuts into one meal.
Even if you just add one new food each week, it can really make a difference. If your loved one is on a modified diet after a stroke or brain injury and cannot eat some foods, you can always opt for a smoothie.
There is no reason to over-complicate your already complicated life. On the days when I can’t get it “all” right, I just give Mark a couple of ounces of dark chocolate and feel like I at least did one right thing for the day.