I work with many people who have experienced strokes or brain injury, which cause destruction or deterioration of brain cells and can result in muscle weakness, mobility impairments, fatigue, disturbed sleep, inattention, impaired speech and memory, difficulty concentrating, mood swings, dizziness and headaches. For many years, it was believed that a damaged brain could not repair itself or generate new brain cells. But new research demonstrates that the brain can rewire itself and even grow new cells.
Neuroplasticity — the capacity of the brain to change with learning — allows the brain to compensate for lost functions or maximize remaining functions. Changes associated with learning occur mostly at the level of the connections between neurons. New connections can form and the internal structure of the existing synapses can change. People who have sustained a brain injury can support neuroplasticity through nutrition.
The brain requires specific macro and micro-nutrients to function optimally, such as complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, B vitamins, vitamin C and protein. Adequate daily intake of these nutrients is essential for anyone with any kind of brain injury.
Increasing the following nutrients in your diet is recommended to help support your brain function and overall nervous system.
Complex Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are the brain’s preferred fuel source. The brain draws nearly all its energy from glucose, which comes from carbohydrates. An inadequate supply of healthy, fiber-rich, complex carbohydrates can negatively affect attention, memory and energy levels. Healthy complex carbohydrates: whole grains (whole grain bread, whole grain pasta