Proper nutrition is vital for older adults after experiencing a stroke because the body needs resources to promote healing. Adopting a healthier diet also reduces the risk of subsequent strokes. However, some seniors need assistance with meal prep and other important tasks. Senior stroke survivors can benefit greatly from receiving professional in-home stroke care. Sonoma County, CA, Home Care Assistance is committed to helping seniors and their families manage the various challenges following a stroke.
There are a number of healthy foods senior stroke survivors should include in their diets.
1. Fruits and Vegetables
Stroke survivors should strive to get at least two servings of fruit and five servings of vegetables every day. Produce provides antioxidants, which reduce inflammation and blood vessel damage. The vitamins and potassium found in these foods lower blood pressure, and the high fiber content helps lower LDL cholesterol, which plays a major role in plaque development.
2. Whole Grains
Foods made with whole grains contain fiber and other important minerals and vitamins, which work together to help the body heal and inhibit further cardiovascular disease. Examples of whole grains are barley, brown rice, oats, and quinoa, and products made with whole grains include breads, cereals, and pasta.
Senior stroke survivors drink 8 to 10 cups of fluid each day. Fluids are necessary to lubricate body tissues, ensure proper blood flow, and help the kidneys eliminate toxins. Although water is the most highly recommended fluid, seniors may enhance their nutritional intake by including real fruit juices. Coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages cause fluid loss through the kidneys. As such, older adults should only drink caffeinated beverages when advised by a physician.
4. Meat, Fish, and Poultry
Meat, fish, and poultry are rich in protein, which the body needs for cellular repair. However, stroke survivors should restrict intake to lean cuts of meat. The meat portion of a meal should be limited to a four-ounce serving. Oily fish is recommended two to three times each week. Halibut, salmon, sardines, and tuna provide essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which reduce stroke risk. Protein alternatives include two boiled eggs, 1/2 cup of beans or lentils, and 1/3 cup of almonds.
5. Low-Fat Dairy
The calcium and potassium found in dairy products help keep blood pressure under control. Low-fat dairy options include cheese, custard, milk, and yogurt.
6. Healthy Fats
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which inhibit inflammation and reduce free radical damage. Healthy fats are found in avocados, vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds.
Many older adults are sensitive to salt, which then causes fluid retention. The fluid leaks out of cells and causes swelling known as edema. Stroke survivors should steer clear of salt and use salt substitutes instead, which typically contain a number of herbs and spices. Single dried or fresh herbs are other options for enhancing food flavor.
If seniors have difficulty eating or drinking, they are at greater risk of not getting a sufficient amount of nutrients. In these cases, adaptive equipment or liquefying foods or thickening liquids may be needed for proper nutrition. However, some families need assistance preparing nutritious meals for the elderly loved ones during stroke recovery. If you are the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality non-medical senior care, Sonoma County Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.
Performing daily tasks while simultaneously managing the symptoms of a serious illness can be challenging for seniors. The Sonoma County live-in care experts at Home Care Assistance are available 24/7 to make sure your loved one has the care he or she needs to remain safe and comfortable while aging in place. To learn more about our around-the-clock stroke care, call one of our experienced Care Managers at (707) 843.4368 to schedule a complimentary consultation.