Leading a healthy lifetyle means your body is in the state it wants and needs to be in to function at its best. Whatever your situation there are changes you can make to have healthier diet and lifestyle. Here are some general tips to start you off.
One of the other benefits of living a healthy lifestyle is you will maintain a healthy weight, something that’s important when recovering from a brain injury. Here are some things you can do:
- 50-75% of your body is water so staying hydrated will help the healing process.
- Staying hydrated can help you avoid secondary complications such as infections.
- Try and avoid drinking alcohol. It dehydrates you and can affect your brain while it’s in the process of healing.
Add more to your diet
- Fruit and veg: you’ve probably heard it before, but start balancing your diet with five portions of fruit and veg a day.
- Fish: particularly oily fish are high in protein, vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids, a type which are good for our health.
- Get your necessary fats from unsaturated fat sources such as vegetable / olive oil, nuts and seeds.
Change what you already eat
- Meat: Choose leaner cuts of meat such as skinless chicken. And when cooking, try grilling, dry-roasting or poaching, rather than frying.
- Processed foods: Avoid eating too many highly processed foods such as sausages, pork pies, pastries, hard cheese, cakes and biscuits. These foods tend to be high in calories, saturated fat, sugar and salt.
- Salt: Replace salt with herbs and spices to add flavour. Too much salt can cause high blood pressure.
How active are you?
- If you are not as active as you were before your brain injury, you won’t need to eat as many calories. However, your brain still needs healthy nutrition for it to heal.
- How much exercise you can do will depend on your ability and level of fatigue. If you can walk, walk. If you can stand, stand. If you can sit, rock back and forth, and side to side in your chair. Any movement you can do will help.
Are you a smoker?
- You may have had to stop smoking if you spent some time in hospital. You can use the aids you received when you were there such as the nicotine patches, or see your GP.
- The NHS offers support to help transition you to a healthier life without smoking. Visit your GP who can point you to services that can help.
- If members of your family smoke you could even try and give up together. Sharing the challenge means you can support each other.