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Can Foods & Vitamins Help Heal the Brain After a Stroke?

by
author image Maura Banar
Maura Banar has been a professional writer since 2001 and is a psychotherapist. Her work has appeared in "Imagination, Cognition and Personality" and "Dreaming: The Journal of the International Association for the Study of Dreams." Banar received her Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Buffalo State College and her Master of Arts in mental health counseling from Medaille College.
Can Foods & Vitamins Help Heal the Brain After a Stroke?
Damage after a stroke can be temporary or permanent. Photo Credit Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images

A stroke is an interruption of blood flow to a portion of your brain, caused by blockage or opening of an artery or blood vessel. Depending on the area of the brain that is affected, a stroke can cause cognitive problems, physical impairment or difficulty speaking. Diet can play a role in increasing or decreasing the risk factors for having a stroke and can facilitate your body's ability to heal after a stroke. Additionally, certain vitamin supplements may also help your brain and body heal after a stroke. Check with your doctor before making dietary changes or using vitamin supplements.

Garlic

Garlic is used as a flavoring for foods and in naturopathic medicine, this bulb is valued for it's effects as a supplement. The National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine explains that garlic may be effective in decreasing the development of plaque in the arteries that can cause a stroke. Additionally, consuming garlic on a regular basis may also cause a slight lowering of blood pressure, which can also decrease your risk of another stroke. Garlic is considered safe for everyday use as a food however it can cause blood thinning, so check with your doctor if you are taking anticoagulant medications.

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Vitamin C

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is primarily known for its ability to boost immunity. In addition, the University of Maryland Medical Center explains that vitamin C may help protect your arteries from damage caused by a stroke. Vitamin C, they add, is also a natural antioxidant that can decrease the accumulation of plaque in the arteries that can cause another stroke. Individuals who have lower levels of vitamin C have a higher risk of having a stroke and a diet that is rich in vitamin C tends to contain heart-healthy foods.

Selenium

Selenium is an essential mineral that is found in foods like fish, shellfish and garlic. The University of Maryland Medical Center explains that a deficiency of selenium is associated with an increased risk of stroke due to plaque accumulation. Studies regarding the association of selenium intake and the incidence of heart disease are mixed however this mineral is needed by your body for a healthy immune system. With adequate amounts of selenium, your immune system can help your body and brain heal to its maximum ability after a stroke.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are available as a supplement and in foods like salmon, mackerel and flaxseeds. Omega-3 fatty acids, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, help decrease your risk of mortality after having a heart attack. These fats also reduce your risk of having another stroke by both decreasing and preventing the development of new plaque deposits. Omega-3 fatty acids may also decrease inflammation that can impair the healing process after a stroke. Check with your doctor before taking an omega-3 fatty acid supplement because at high dosages, it can impair the clotting ability of your blood or interfere with some medications administered to stroke patients.

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