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If you are a stroke patient or a carer for a stroke patient, the following food tips will help with stroke recovery as they promote the protein brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). However, do check with your treating medical doctor first due to the interactions they may have with any drugs they have prescribed you.

- Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help normalise BDNF levels and protect against reduced plasticity and impaired learning after traumatic brain injury. This is essentially the opposite of what saturated fat does to our brain. This means that brain cell regeneration goes up while potential negatives go down.

- Blueberries are well-known for their memory-boosting qualities, they also help boost neurogenesis and cognitive function. A study says, showed that blueberry supplementation led to an improvement in some cognitive abilities, possibly due to the impact of flavonoids on cell signaling pathways to those involving BDNF.

- Avocados are a fatty fruit that can help you think faster. The grey matter in your brain that processes information relies on oleic acid to perform at optimal speed and avocados are an excellent source of oleic acid.

- Beans help deliver glucose to your brain, which is your brain’s primary source of fuel. They also help your blood glucose levels stabilise, which steadies the supply of glucose to your brain.

- Tomatoes received massive attention when they were discovered to be a rich source of the antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene was found to provide neuro-protective benefits and reduce the effect of brain damage due to ischemic stroke in rats. Many lycopene supplements now exist, but we recommend getting your lycopene straight from the source.

- Pomegranate is a super Sunnah fruit and whether you’re eating them or drinking their juice, pomegranate is high in potent anti-oxidants, which help protect you from the damage caused by free radicals. Since the brain is most sensitive to free radical damage, pomegranates easily make the list of best foods for stroke recovery.

- Nuts and seeds are a good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that corresponds with less cognitive decline as we get older.

- Anti-oxidants: add any other foods containing anti-oxidants to benefit BDNF.

- Avoid saturated fats and refined sugar as eating saturated fat and sugar reduces BDNF and stifles your brain’s ability to grow new brain cells, which is the opposite of your stroke recovery goals. Plus, saturated fat and sugar promote weight gain, which is a stroke risk factor.

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