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Proper Diet for Stroke & Diabetes Patients

author image Carolyn Robbins
Carolyn Robbins began writing in 2006. Her work appears on various websites and covers various topics including neuroscience, physiology, nutrition and fitness. Robbins graduated with a bachelor of science degree in biology and theology from Saint Vincent College.
Proper Diet for Stroke & Diabetes Patients
Read nutrition facts labels to determine fat and sugar content. Photo Credit: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

A healthy diet is important for everyone, but nutrition is suddenly much more significant after a diabetes diagnosis or a stroke. Everyday food choices determine how well you manage your disease and how likely you are to have complications in the future. The basic guidelines for diabetes and stroke patients are straightforward, but due to medication interactions, you may have additional dietary restrictions you should discuss with your physician.

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The Basics of a Diabetic Diet

The goal of a diabetic diet is to maintain stable blood sugar levels. Consequently, diabetics need to limit their consumption of sugary treats and be careful in the selection of carbohydrates. Most of your carbohydrates should come from five servings of fruits and vegetables, three servings of whole grains and two to four servings of low-fat dairy, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Eating small meals throughout the day is the best way to maintain steady sugars. Diabetics should limit their intake of fat, salt and alcohol.

Diet After a Stroke

Nutrition for stroke patients is similar to a diabetic diet. Your meals should include plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein and low-fat dairy. At least half of all your grains should be whole grains. Dark, leafy greens and orange vegetables are particularly nutrient-dense and beneficial. Eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day. It's particularly important for stroke patients to watch their fat intake. You should eliminate trans fats from your diet and restrict your intake of other fats. Stroke patients should keep their sodium consumption below 1,500 milligrams per day. If a stroke has affected your swallowing ability, you may need foods of a different consistency -- such as soft or pureed -- which would be determined by a speech-language pathologist.

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