"Support for Prevention of Heart Disease and Stroke"

Nutritional Advice for Stroke Patients and Their Families

Healthy eating must become a way of life for us all, not just the person who has suffered a stroke; the entire household can offer true support by eating healthily as well.

Weight loss is based on an attitude of fitness for life, based on maintaining the body at a size that is appropriate for height and body structure. All individuals need the same nutrients but the proportions will vary depending on gender, age, stage of development, body size and type, level of activity, and state of health, . People who do not exercise need 1500-2500 kcal/d. More active individuals need about 3000 kcal/d.

Food is placed into six groups according to their major nutrient contribution:
  1. Staples (carbohydrates, protein)
  2. Legumes and Nuts (carbohydrates, protein)
  3. Vegetables (vitamins, minerals)
  4. Food from animals (protein, fat)
  5. Fruits (carbohydrates, vitamins)
  6. Fats and oils (fats)
N.B. Sugars, sweets, honey, beverages are included in a miscellaneous grouping providing simple carbohydrates.

In each meal the proportion of nutrients should be carbohydrates 60-70%, protein 10-15%, and fat 20-25%. Since counting calories and calculating percentages of food is often rather tedious, here are a few guidelines to healthy eating: Symptoms of stroke appear suddenly and include:
  • Trim all visible fat from the meat and remove the skin from poultry before cooking it.
  • Limit the use of salad dressing, mayonnaise, gravy, and rich sauces.
  • Aim for seven to ten portions of fruit and vegetables daily.
  • Avoid second helpings and prepare smaller amounts of food.
  • Use the 50% rule: enjoy your favourite foods but have half the usual amount.
  • Eat slowly and savour every moment.
  • Small changes can make a big difference. Eating habits develop over a lifetime so do not expect to make massive changes overnight.
  • There is no such thing as a perfect eating pattern; you just need to be getting better at making healthy food choices.
  • Dieting only serves to disrupt your normal eating pattern. The weight lost is usually regained within weeks of ending the dieting game.
And remember, a balanced well-planned diet must be combined with plenty of exercise.

Prepared by the Barbados Register of Strokes, Chronic Disease Research Centre for the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados.