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Traumatic Brain Injury - Necessity for Nutrition

A healthy diet and good nutrition is a necessity to help recover from a traumatic brain injury. A healthy diet is beneficial for all people but becomes a necessity when recovering from a brain injury. Certain studies have shown that a lack of certain nutrients and chemicals can cause disruptions in brain functioning. The brain uses calories to function and when someone has a traumatic brain injury it is necessary to eat enough nutritional calories to help the brain function.

Somethings that may interfere with good nutrition are as follows:

• Medication - Taking medication for pain or depression may inhibit the appetite.

• Loss of or changes in taste and smell - This is common after a brain injury and may lower nutrition intake.

Traumatic brain injury nutritional tips:

• Eat small meals every 3-4 hours

• Keep baggies of healthy snacks that you can eat during the day to boost energy such as nuts, trail mix, fruit and hard boiled eggs.

• Balance the small meals with protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates.

• If eating small meals is difficult then utilize a timer or watch alarm or a mobile phone that will signal when you should eat.

• Try to eat around the same time each day as the body does best with a routine.

• Since weight gain is common following a brain injury because of a lack of exercise eat moderately.

Grocery Shopping:

• Use a notepad posted on your refrigerator to list out items that you are low on so you will remember to purchase them.

• Try to shop in the grocery store when it is less crowded and less distracting.

• Shop when you are not hungry and make smarter food choices.

• Develop a list of foods that you like to eat that are nutritionally balanced.

• If a loss of taste or smell is involved then check the expiration dates on the food in order that the food you are eating is healthy.

Vitamins and Supplements - In addition to eating well balanced small meals it is important to utilize vitamins and supplements including:

• Multivitamins that will make up basic vitamins.

• Omega-3 fatty acids or fish oil can help improve nerve signal transmission in the brain.

• Probiotics is a bacteria that helps digestion.

• Antioxidants including vitamin C, E and beta carotene can counteract oxidative damage.

• B vitamins boost metabolism and affect brain and nervous system functioning.

Foods to avoid:

• Alcohol

• Caffeine

• Salty foods

• Candy and sweets

It is important to consult a nutritionist through your primary care physician to help with nutrition for recovery of a traumatic brain injury.

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