Nutritional intervention is an important component in a diabetic stroke survivor’s care plan. Healthy eating can augment the therapeutic effects of insulin and other prescription medications. Healthy food choices can manage erratic blood glucose levels and may also lower the risk of diabetes-related complications and recurrent strokes. Here are some of the most nutritious foods for stroke survivors who also have diabetes.
Ginger lowers blood glucose levels while raising insulin levels in diabetics, and it may also protect against heart attacks and strokes by reducing the risk of blood clots. Fresh ginger can be used in stir-fry dishes, stews, and soups and can also be steeped in a cup of boiling water to make a healthy tea. If your senior loved one finds the taste of raw ginger too spicy or intense, consider sugarless candied ginger. Talk to your loved one’s physician before incorporating ginger into your parent’s diet. Because of its blood-thinning properties, large servings of ginger should be avoided if your loved one takes prescription anticoagulant medications.
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In addition to lowering blood glucose levels, cinnamon can also lower blood pressure, which is a significant risk factor for strokes and heart attacks. Cinnamon can reduce the brain swelling that’s common after a stroke, and it may also play a role in promoting cognitive function in stroke survivors while enhancing brain activity. Cinnamon can be enjoyed in oatmeal or sprinkled on fruit, or it can be used to season potatoes or lean meats such as lamb or turkey breast. Like ginger, cinnamon also has blood-thinning properties and should be used with caution by those taking prescription blood thinners or aspirin.
Mackerel, a fatty fish that’s high in omega-3 fatty acids, is a nutrient-dense food that may provide health benefits for stroke survivors with diabetes. Omega-3 fatty acids can regulate blood glucose levels, reduce the risk of thrombus formation, lower blood pressure, and decrease cholesterol levels. Eating mackerel may also boost mood in those living with neurological deficits and brain injuries. If your loved one doesn’t care for mackerel, consider other healthy fish options, including salmon and tuna. While fresh fatty fish is considered a healthy food choice for diabetics and stroke survivors, eating too much of it may cause your loved one to consume unhealthy levels of mercury.
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High in lycopene, tomatoes are rich in disease-fighting antioxidants. Lycopene is thought to have neuroprotective properties and may diminish the effects of neurological damage resulting from strokes. Tomatoes can also keep blood sugar levels healthy, and they’re a good source of immune-boosting vitamin C. Some seniors may be unable to tolerate the acidity of tomatoes. If your loved one experiences heartburn or acid reflux after eating raw tomatoes, cooking them may make them less acidic.
5. Whole Wheat Bread
Complex carbohydrates such as whole wheat bread are good food options for diabetic stroke survivors. Whole wheat bread is high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and it may keep blood sugar levels from rising to dangerous levels. The nutrients in whole wheat bread may also lower the risk for another stroke while decreasing cholesterol levels.
6. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke. They’re rich in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, which control blood sugar levels, and they reduce hunger, so diabetic stroke survivors won’t be as tempted to make unhealthy food choices. Chia seeds may also lower serum triglycerides and low-density lipoproteins. They can be enjoyed in salads, yogurt, and smoothies.
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