When I was faced with recovering from the stroke in 2014, I knew from my background in herbs and wellness, that what I fed my body and brain was going to either heal me or cause more harm. When I was still in the hospital trying to get my doctor to release me, one of my arguments was the food. I had more sugar and processed food in front of me in one meal than I had normally eaten in a month. There was no way I was going to heal on a hospital diet.
These are the foods that I ate on a daily basis that played a huge part of my record 6 month recovery. I was literally back in the saddle, on my horse, in less than 6 months from a stroke that my doctors said I wouldn't recover from. (I considered it a dare.)
1. Walnuts: They are rich with brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids, which also have positive effects on mood. Like many antidepressants, walnuts work to boost the brain’s serotonin levels. The healthy oil also works at lowering cholesterol.
2. Salmon: Your brain is fat, really fat. Sixty percent of it is composed of fatty acids, the long snake-like building blocks of fat molecules required for proper brain structure and function. Fatty acids come in many varieties, yet the brain has a clear favorite — and salmon is packed with it. More than two-thirds of the brain’s fatty acids are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid found primarily in oily fish.
3. Olive Oil: Olive Oil May Help Prevent Strokes. Stroke is caused by a disturbance of blood flow to your brain, either due to a blood clot or bleeding. ... A large review of studies in 841,000 people found that olive oil was the only source of monounsaturated fat associated with a reduced risk of stroke and heart disease by reducing brain inflammation.
4. Avocados: Avocados are almost as good as blueberries in promoting brain health. True, the avocado is a fatty fruit, but, it's a monounsaturated fat, which contributes to healthy blood flow. And healthy blood flow means a healthy brain.
5. Blueberries: Can Help Maintain Brain Function and Improve Memory. Oxidative stress can accelerate your brain's aging process, negatively affecting brain function. According to animal studies, the antioxidants in blueberries may affect areas of your brain that are essential for intelligence.
6. Himalayan Pink Salt: Because of the amazing nutrient load, doctors of functional medicine report that regularly eating pink Himalayan salt can help: Regulate the water content throughout your body. Promote healthy pH balance in your cells (particularly your brain cells) Promote blood sugar health and help reduce the signs of aging. Not all salts are made equally! Throw the table salt out and replace it with this pink beauty.
7. Broccoli: Broccoli is a source of two crucial nutrients that help improve brain function. Vitamin K helps to strengthen cognitive abilities while Choline has been found to improve memory – people who eat plenty of broccoli perform better on memory tests. Only eat broccoli if you are not on Warfarin or any of it's derivatives. Vitamin K is to be avoided with some medications. Be aware of that.
8. Pumpkin Seeds: Pumpkin seeds contain powerful antioxidants that protect the body and brain from free radical damage. They're also an excellent source of magnesium, iron, zinc and copper.
9. Beets: They reduce inflammation, are high in cancer-protecting antioxidants and help rid your blood of toxins. The natural nitrates in beets actually boost blood flow to the brain, helping with mental performance.
10. Bone broth: The ultimate food for healing your gut and, in turn, healing your brain. This ancient food is full of health benefits, ranging from boosting your immune system, overcoming leaky gut, improving joint health and overcoming food allergies.
11. Coconut Oil: Coconut oil works as a natural anti-inflammatory, suppressing cells responsible for inflammation. It can help with memory loss as you age and destroy bad bacteria that hangs out in your gut.
12. Dark Chocolate: Chocolate is full of flavonols, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They can also help lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to both the brain and heart.
Dig in! Feed your brain the fats it needs to repair itself and create new synapses.
Learn more about how I recovered fully from my massive stroke in my book Heal. Writing this book was not on my dream list of things to do for my lifetime. But it is my step by step guide into exactly how I recovered, what worked for me, and what didn't. Healing all long term illness comes with parallel challenges.