The recovery of the brain after stroke depends on many factors, but it’s usually possible to restore some of its function. 795,000 of Americans suffer from stroke every year and 140,000 of the cases are fatal. Stroke is also the main cause of long-term disability in the country as full recovery after it is almost impossible. However, a healthy lifestyle, diet, and special therapies can improve the patient’s condition greatly.
What Happens to the Brain After Stroke
In order to understand the effects of stroke can chances of recovery, one must know what it does to your brain. 87% of strokes in the US are ischemic, meaning they are caused by the obstruction of blood flow to the brain. In most cases, only a part of your brain is affected. It’s the location as well as severity of the damage that determine the exact effects of stroke. Those can range from mild headaches to blindness and death.
There are about 100 trillion neural connections in your brain. They control every single process going inside your body. Stroke damage destroys some of those connections.
The good news is that human brains possess the phenomenon called ‘neuroplasticity’. Basically, this process is your brain ‘rewiring’ itself to fix or make up for the lost connections.
How to Make Your Brain Recover After Stroke
Neuroplasticity is the ability that allows for your recovery, but actually using the benefits of this process is extremely hard. The reconstruction of brain after stroke is a natural process as your body wants to heal itself. It also has a nearly limitless ability to recover, unless the damage was extremely severe.
To use all these benefits you’ll require special therapy with lots and lots of repetitive actions. In essence, this approach should help your body recreate the connections lost because of the stroke. There are many studies into the best practices for post-stroke recovery and some of them seem truly incredible. For example, a team from the University of Rochester in New York developed a method that allows restoring vision.
The treatment consists of diet, lifestyle changes, and specialized exercises on a computer. As almost 60% of patients suffer vision impairments after stroke, this therapy is truly life changing. However, Krystel Huxlin, one of the neuroscientists working on this project, highlights that this treatment requires a lot of work from the patient.
Like with all post-stroke therapies, the rate of success depends on the extent of the damage. One must also note that the sooner you start therapy, the better. Neuroplasticity is not an infinite resource and ‘rewiring’ your brain gets harder with e very passing day.
However, as important as therapy is, your diet and general lifestyle also affect your chances of recovery greatly. If you want to restore your brain after stroke, you must provide it with well-balanced nutrition.
Post-stroke diet must consist of:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- 2-3 daily servings of whole grains and legumes
- No less than 3 servings of fatty fish per week
- Poultry or lean meats (exclude all fat foods)
- Only low-fat dairy products
As you can see, fiber and antioxidants are the main foods for your brain after stroke. Essential omega 3 fatty acids are also vital. Three servings of fish might not be enough for you to get enough of them. You can solve this problem taking supplements, like Omega 3 EPA/DHA. You should also consider benefits of lecithin supplements for the brain and talk to your doctor about adding Lecithin 1200mg to your diet.
Lifestyle-wise, you’ll have to break all your unhealthy habits, such as smoking, drinking, irregular sleep, long nights, etc. Stress is one of the main contributing factors for stroke, so it’s imperative to reduce it as much as possible. Meditation and yoga are great practices for recovery and so are regular walks so you can get some fresh air.
Restoring your brain after stroke is a slow and painful process. However, if you focus on therapy and embrace a healthy lifestyle, your chances will improve.