It is common for concussion patients to ask what they can do at home to help with their recovery. Many want to know if diet is an important factor in recovery — and the answer is ‘yes’, it is absolutely important.
If you have tissue damage somewhere in your brain, it is important to give your body the best building blocks possible to repair it and help it to heal properly. You need to be eating healthy foods that provide you with these building blocks. If you are what you eat, then your brain is what you eat too.
In the ninth video in our Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS) series, we talk about how diet can impact your recovery from a concussion or post-concussion syndrome. We’ll review some common things to eat and avoid to improve your ability to better.
Disclaimer: When going on any diet, it’s important to remember that everyone’s body is different. You may need to modify your diet based on what’s right for your specific metabolism and nutritional needs. We always recommend consulting with our team before you begin a diet.
What to Eat & What to Avoid
When thinking about recovering from a brain injury, it is important to remember that some of the key components of your brain are built from animal proteins and animal fats, so it’s integral for these things to be in your diet.
Based on our experience, we have found that vegans or vegetarians will recover more slowly from a concussion. While there are many good reasons to be a vegan or vegetarian, it may put you at a disadvantage during the recovery process, due to the lack of key building blocks in your diet.
Without altering your diet, many vegans and vegetarians may be unable to fully recover from a traumatic brain injury. As a general rule, our team won’t typically work with patients who are not willing to alter the way that they eat — and this is equally true of people who are not vegans or vegetarians.
While we recommend eating animal proteins and fats, we also tend to recommend that recovering PCS patients avoid certain foods.
To maximize your chances of recovery, you need to properly regulate your blood sugar levels and minimize inflammation. Inflammation in the brain can be tricky to clear out, especially after a brain injury. This means that you need to try to eliminate any inflammatory foods from your diet.
We generally recommend that patients avoid foods that are inflammatory, such as nightshades, as well as any foods that you have a specific immune reaction to. This could be a food that you are allergic to (e.g. bananas, nuts, shellfish) or simply a food that you have an intolerance for (e.g. gluten, dairy, etc.).
The ideal diet will be different for every concussion patient, but most patients will end up following an anti-inflammatory paleo diet that is modified for their individual sensitivities. If you don’t know what foods you’re sensitive to, our team will help you identify them as part of your treatment process.
Remember that your diet, like the rest of your treatment plan, needs to be custom tailored to fit you as an individual, based on extensive testing and assessments. If you want to increase your chances of a successful recovery, contact our team today to get the support that you need.