Over the years, gaining weight has emerged as a longer term consequence following a stroke. It is not hidden that an inactive lifestyle after a stroke is the culprit here, leaving any stroke survivor feeling overwhelmed. While some motor functions may take time to rehabilitate, obesity doesn’t have to be a coping issue during your stroke recovery. Whether you’re trying to prevent a second stroke or simply looking after your weight, a balanced healthy diet is a great way to start with.
The immediate step towards getting into a diet program is to firstly cut on junk and implement lifestyle changes such as timely eating, incorporating smaller sub meals with main meals and including fluids in the diet. Although the suitable diet plan can be made depending upon your current body weight, impairments and your lifestyle after stroke, following dietary modifications work for every stroke survivor.
- Lean protein such as nuts, lean meats, beans and lentils. Protein slows digestion and therefore fewer calories are consumed.
- Fruits and vegetables as they have different nutrients, vitamins, and fibers. It is noted that fiber keeps you full for a longer period and therefore keep hunger at bay. The high content of water in most fruits and vegetables may keep you full without too much calorie intake.
- Whole grains and complex carbohydrates such as whole wheat, brown rice and barley. They are high in fiber and nutrients, but low in glycemic index. As a result, blood sugar and insulin do not spike and you feel fuller for a longer time.
- Good fat like polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats such as nuts, seeds and olive oil.
- Yogurt as it provides all the benefits of the dairy product without the added calories.
- Processed and refined grains such as white bread, pasta and rice as they have high glycemic index. Not minimizing their intake may result in an increase in blood sugar and insulin level. This can make you hungrier and lead to further weight gain.
- Processed refined sugar. Natural sweet can be consumed in moderate amounts.
- Processed refined salt. Natural salt can be consumed in moderate amounts.
- Aerated and sweetened beverages like soda. Whole fruit or smoothies could be consumed as a replacement.
- Red meat as its three-and-a-half-ounce consumption on a daily basis increases chances of stroke recurrence by 10%.
The Last Word
To consume the right amount of calories, it is important to be mindful of portion size as well. There are other changes that can be done to your daily dietary habits and environment that might help with managing obesity after stroke. You should:
- Bring variety to your diet.
- Avoid ordering big meals.
- Read food labels for calories and other nutrients and serving size.
- Keep healthy snacks handy for times when you get hungry.
- Avoid going hungry to stop the urge for unhealthy junk food.
- Drink in moderation and avoid beer.
- Avoid skipping meals.
Here, the goal behind weight management should focus on maintaining a healthy post-stroke lifestyle rather than appearance. Starting a healthy lifestyle is not impossible but just requires some patience, commitment, motivation and support from your loved ones.
This Blog is contributed by Dr. Rimpy kanwar. She has more than 8 years of working experience in the field of Physical Therapy. Her expertise lies in ortho-neuro and Pulmonary rehabilitation cases.