Brain food – this healthy diet can speed up recovery after a concussion

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Did you just have a concussion? Seeking medical attention is the best way to promote recovery. However, your diet could play a significant role as well. It is an essential aspect of the recovery process. When you sustain a concussion, the brain is pushed against the inner part of your skull and could get bruised. The nerve tissues can stretch or tear. Concussions alter the balance of chemicals and ions in your brain. They trigger the production of free radicals, causing inflammation of the brain tissues.

The symptoms include cognitive challenges, headaches, and dizziness. Even when getting concussion physical therapy, lifestyle challenges are necessary. 

Here are a few foods that can promote quick recovery after a concussion.

1. Blueberries/Cranberries

Blueberries have high amounts of antioxidants and flavonoids. Alaskan blueberries have some of the highest antioxidant levels of all fruits and vegetables. They are perfect for reducing inflammation and healing your brain.

Blueberries can promote brain function and facilitate communication between your brain cells. Consider adding some blueberries to your smoothies, yogurt, and cereal.

2. Cranberries

Cranberries are full of flavonoids as well. They fight inflammation and free radicals in your brain. The best way to consume cranberries is by eating them fresh. Cranberry juice and cranberry sauce may be filled with sugar and little nutritional value.

3. Broccoli

Broccoli is a healthy option for treating concussions as well. The antioxidant-filled vegetable is great for reducing inflammation. It is filled with Vitamin K as well. A cup of broccoli delivers over 100 percent of adults’ ideal vitamin K intake.

Vitamin K is necessary for the production of sphingolipids. They are types of fat densely packed in the central nervous system. Sphingolipids help the brain cells send out essential signals. Vitamin K can also improve memory and cognition.

4. Fatty Fish

Fatty fish are some of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Some of the best fish to include your diet are salmon, mackerel, and sardines. The omega-3 fatty acids will do wonders for your brain.

If you don’t enjoy seafood, consider exploring other sources of omega-3. Note that the omega-3 present in plants and nuts isn’t as easy to process as the omega-3 in fish. You will need to consume more of it for the same benefits. Here are a few sources of omega-3 from plants:

  • Soybeans
  • chia seeds
  • walnuts
  • Hemp seed
  • Brussel sprouts

5. Flaxseed Oil

This is a fantastic source of omega-3 and could be great for your brain. Flaxseed oil is one of the best alternatives to fatty fish. One tablespoon accounts for about 57 percent of your daily recommended intake of omega-3. Consider adding flaxseed oil to your oatmeal, yogurt, or food.

6. Green Tea

A cup or two of green tea daily will promote recovery if you have a concussion. It improves cognition, alertness, and memory. Green tea can also reduce inflammation and help your brain fight free radicals.]

It is rich in the amino acid L-theanine which promotes relaxation and reduces anxiety. Dealing with stress is critical to fast recovery.

7. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is delicious and a fantastic addition to your diet after a concussion. It is rich in flavonoids making the perfect snack during the recovery period. Dark chocolate is also rich in magnesium, which may be depleted when you have a concussion. Consider eating chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa for maximum benefits. Higher cocoa percentage translates to better results for your brain.

8. Dark Leafy Vegetables

Spinach, kales, and other dark leafy green vegetables are excellent for treating brain injury. They are packed with nutrients, including omega-3, and vitamin B. Kale is packed with B-vitamins that promote communication between neurons and promote neuronal repair after traumatic brain injury.

9. Pecans, Walnuts, and Other Nuts

Nuts are packed with antioxidants that your brain needs when recovering from a concussion. They are a fantastic source of healthy fat and are rich in antioxidants. Walnuts, pecans, and other nuts enhance brain function over time.

10. Meat

Meat is an excellent source of zinc. It is one of the nutrients your brain needs after sustaining a head injury. Zinc loss is a common issue after traumatic brain injury and can persist for weeks. Since the nutrient is essential for memory formation and your immune system, you need to replenish it. Red meat is one of the best sources of zinc. However, you should avoid processed meat as it increases the risk of heart disease.

Do it in moderation if you have to consume processed meats like bacon, hot dogs, or sausages.

11. Olive Oil

Olive oil has lots of health benefits, and it may be great when recovering from a concussion. The main benefit is that it promotes the production of BDNF, which is essential for brain cell growth. It can promote speedy recovery after brain injury.

Consider using olive oil instead of butter when baking. It could also be great for stir-frying vegetables and using as a salad dressing. If you cook it, use low-to-medium heat to preserve its nutritional value.

12. Turmeric

Whether you use it as a root or powder, turmeric is one of the best foods when recovering from brain injury. The spice is an excellent curcumin source that can aid TBI patients. Curcumin is an antioxidant that promotes the production of BDNF. It helps your brain trigger neurogenesis.

Even though the taste can be strong, it goes well with many soups and curries. You can also add some to your tea and rice. Explore different recipes to keep things exciting.

Foods to Avoid When You Have a Concussion

Generally, you need to avoid foods with processed sugar and saturated fat when recovering from brain injury. Such foods hamper neuroplasticity and BDNF, which you need for complete recovery.

Foods to avoid include:

  • Sugary drinks
  • Processed meats
  • Dairy products like cheese, milk, and butter
  • Fatty cuts of meat

This is not an absolute prohibition. You need to consume the foods in moderation for quick recovery. Observing a healthy diet can speed up recovery if you have sustained a brain injury. It is, therefore, critical to understand the foods that promote recovery and make them a deliberate part of your diet. Learn how different foods support recovery and make long-term changes.

Note that dietary changes aren’t enough to treat brain injury. You need to contact your doctor as soon as possible if you suspect that you have a concussion. A medical professional could also help you come up with a diet plan.

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