Studies Reveal a New, Healthy Stroke Recovery Diet: The MIND Diet

Studies Reveal a New, Healthy Stroke Recovery Diet: The MIND Diet

The MIND diet after stroke can give your brain and body a big boost.

Recent studies have shown that the MIND diet reduces certain stroke risk factors and protects against cognitive decline.

If you want to boost your brain health with a good stroke recovery diet, then read on!

Why Is the MIND Diet Special for Stroke Patients?

the best diet after stroke

The MIND diet is a hybrid of the two heart-healthy DASH and Mediterranean diets. (MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay.)

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure, which are two stroke risk factors.

The Mediterranean diet has been shown to protect against:

  • Stroke risk factors such as heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and obesity
  • Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
  • Other chronic degenerative diseases like cancer

The Mediterranean diet is great for your brain and body!

With all these benefits, it’s no surprise that the hybrid MIND diet can be beneficial for stroke recovery.

Clinical Study on the MIND Diet After Stroke

the best stroke recovery diet

In a preliminary study, stroke survivors who closely followed the MIND diet had half the rate of cognitive decline as the survivors who were eating the least MIND-like.

This is great news because stroke survivors are at twice the risk of cognitive decline and dementia, and the MIND diet helps protect against those diseases.

The study is considered preliminary because it has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

However, we still consider the MIND diet the best diet for stroke recovery because it combines 2 clinically-proven heart-healthy diets. And what’s healthy for your heart is usually healthy for your brain, too.

If you’re interested in trying the MIND diet to boost your recovery from stroke, let’s dig into the menu.

Foods to Eat and Avoid on This Stroke Recovery Diet

The MIND diet encourages the consumption of 10 specific foods while discouraging 5 other foods.

It’s great because it doesn’t have any crazy rules or restrictions. It allows you to still eat, drink, and be merry!

10 Foods that Boost Stroke Recovery:

best stroke recovery diet

  1. Green, leafy vegetables – aim for 6+ servings a week
  2. All other vegetables – try to eat another non-starchy vegetable once a day
  3. Berries – twice a week
  4. Nuts – 5+ servings per week
  5. Olive oil – use it as a salad dressing or cooking oil
  6. Whole grains like oatmeal, quinoa, and whole-wheat pasta – aim for 3 servings a day
  7. Fish – twice a week
  8. Beans – 4x a week
  9. Poultry – twice a week (sorry, fried chicken is not encouraged)
  10. Wine – no more than 1 glass a day

These foods are all encouraged because they contain an abundance of antioxidants, omega 3’s, vitamins, and minerals.

5 Foods to Avoid After Stroke:

foods to avoid after stroke

As you begin to eat better foods, also try to focus on reducing your intake of these not MIND-friendly foods:

  1. Butter and margarine – less than 1 tablespoon daily
  2. Cheese – less than once per week
  3. Red meat – less than 3 servings per week
  4. Fried food – less than once per week
  5. Pastries and sweets – less than 4x a week

If you’re currently eating these foods, start to slowly remove them. Often, going cold turkey leads to failure, so just try to gradually cut back.

Should You Try the MIND Diet After Stroke?

avocados and foods that help stroke recovery

Overall, the MIND diet is a great way to boost your recovery from stroke. It helps protect against neurodegenerative diseases like dementia and reduce stroke risk factors like hypertension.

Check with your doctor before making any changes to your diet, because your medical team has an intimate knowledge of your medical health history.

If your doctor gives you the thumbs up, then focus on eating the 10 MIND-friendly foods and do your best to avoid the 5 unhealthy foods. You could have a stronger recovery from stroke because of it!