What can you do to support your recovery from a traumatic brain injury?
Your diet is extremely important after you have suffered a traumatic brain injury. Depending on what foods you choose to consume, what you put into your body can help or hinder your healing. A healthy diet is vital to your overall health, but a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can increase the need to eat healthily and speed up healing to provide your body with the nutrients it needs to recover.
Here are four things you can do to support your recovery from a traumatic brain injury.
1. Take prebiotics and probiotics
Bowel problems are relatively common after a brain injury because the vagus nerve connects your digestive system and brain. Including prebiotics and probiotics in your diet can boost your recovery and supplement the support your gut needs.
A balanced diet with the right supplements can reduce brain injury symptoms, such as decreased appetite or cravings for sweets. Some foods provide natural prebiotics, including onions, asparagus, fruits, vegetables, garlic, artichokes, and dark chocolate.
Dark chocolate must contain at least 70% cocoa, so it does not include milk chocolate. Fruits are a great source of prebiotics and are high in antioxidants. To satisfy these cravings, turn to naturally sweet foods like fiber-rich berries and apples.
2. Follow healthy diet tips
Certain foods can improve your cognitive function, which can be affected by a head injury. The degree of brain damage you have sustained is assessed by professionals and used to determine appropriate steps for recovery. Regardless of the level of brain damage you suffer from your TBI, a healthy diet can speed your recovery.
Omega-3 fatty acids are the best vitamins you can take for your brain. Wild fish contain more omega-3s than farmed seafood, and fish canned in brine is a better source than fish canned in oil. Meat and eggs are also good sources of vitamins your brain needs.
Fruits and vegetables provide minerals and vitamins like calcium that boost brain function. Micronutrients like vitamins and minerals are essential because your body cannot make them. Macronutrients, such as those found in fish, give you energy by consuming calories essential to your brain’s healing process.
Protein and natural foods will also help fuel your brain. Eating small and healthy meals every few hours will help boost your energy. Eating smaller meals at a time can help reduce hunger because you won’t be trying to eat a large meal at once.
3. Choose foods with anti-inflammatory properties
Foods with anti-inflammatory properties can help improve your brain’s cognitive function after an injury. Chicken, green vegetables and fish are good choices.
These foods work to reduce inflammation in your body and can boost your immune system. There are several things you can try to reduce pain and inflammation following a TBI. Those with reduced appetite may find smoothies a fantastic alternative to a full meal as they are very filling.
They can be jam-packed with ingredients all over your body to help speed healing and manage your pain. Fruits like pineapple are excellent natural sources of anti-inflammatory properties.
Hydration is also a key component to the healing process in TBI patients. However, staying hydrated can be a challenge if you suffer from a lack of thirst or simply don’t enjoy drinking water. Smoothies can also help here.
4. Try the Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet promotes brain health. It includes plenty of grains, nuts, legumes, fruits and vegetables, fish, and olive oil.
Fish is the best food to rely on to speed up your healing process after suffering a brain injury. You just need to make sure you’re getting the right sources of omega-3. Omega-3 fats found in fish are a much better source of brain healing than plant-based foods.
Since the brain is made up of fat, the right sources of omega-3 fats, found in fish, are essential to help it fire and process electrical signals at the appropriate speed. For those who don’t like seafood, microalgae can be found in supplement form, so you can still get omega-3 goodness for your brain.
Many berries and fruits are linked to improved brain health. For example, pomegranate can give you extra brain power and improve your memory. Walnuts are also great for improving your focus.
Healing from TBI
Healing from TBI is challenging and looks different for everyone. As difficult as it may seem, you are not alone in your struggle. Avoid alcohol, artificial sweeteners such as candy, milk chocolate and foods with excess salt. Stick to a balanced diet and give your body the foundation it needs to heal and recover properly. This will speed up your recovery and improve your health, allowing you to live life to the fullest after recovery.