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Feed Your Body, Feed Your Brain
Excerpts taken from the book Understanding Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI): An Insightful Guide to Symptoms, Treatments and Redefining Recovery
by Mary Ann Keatley, PhD, CCC, and Laura L Whittemore.
Nutritional Tips to Speed Recovery
“A healthy diet during the recovery from a brain injury is highly beneficial. Scientists know that deficiencies in certain nutrients and chemicals can cause disruptions in brain functioning and the ability to think clearly.” Since there are many recent books and workshops on healthy eating, please choose which one will work in your lifestyle.”
Nutritional Tip: the naturally occurring fat in avocados is excellent for the brain.
Nutritional Tips for Head Injuries
“Good nutrition is a key to improving from a TBI. The brain requires adequate calories to function and healthy foods can provide the nutrition to keep the brain more alert. Eat small meals every three to four hours. Keep small baggies of healthy snacks with you during the day to boost your energy, such as nuts, trail mix, apples, cheese, hard-boiled eggs, and energy bars. Ask a member of your family or support group to make these for you and put them in a small cooler to take with you when away from home.”
“Balance small meals with a combination of protein, healthy fats and oils, and carbohydrates. Proteins include fish, lean meats, nuts, and eggs. Healthy fats can be found in avocados, seeds, and nuts. Carbohydrates are found in vegetables, fresh fruits, and grains. Avoid eating carbohydrates by themselves if you have blood sugar concerns. Many individuals report that sugar and chocolate increase headaches, so eat sweets sparingly.”
“Eat moderately. Do not overeat as it can cause you to feel sleepy. Eat by the clock. If your brain/body signals are not working well, set a timer, watch alarm or a mobile phone to alert you that it’s time to eat. Since weight gain is common following brain injury, this is another reason to stick to a healthy diet. Try to eat around the same time every day. The body does best when it is on a routine schedule.”
Nutritional Tip: always begin your day with a healthy breakfast which includes fresh berries.