Following a brain injury, a healthy and well-balanced diet can be essential to a speedy recovery. It’s well-known that nutrient and chemical deficiencies can disrupt brain function. Our brains require energy and nutrients for proper neurotransmitter levels, nerve function, and brain chemistry. Certain vitamins and minerals are more important than others when it comes to potentially reducing the consequences of a brain injury. The following are five important types of foods and nutrients that can improve recovery of neurons following a head injury.
Foods Containing Omega-3s
Several studies have found that foods containing omega-3s are especially therapeutic for recovering from a brain injury. Fish-derived omega-3s have been found to improve brain plasticity, cognitive, and neuron recovery after a traumatic brain injury. An essential form of omega-3 is DHA, which is crucial for brain function and structure and appears to reduce oxidative stress damage that can result from an injury. In one specific study published in 2017, prolonged supplementation of fish oil after a brain injury was found to promote restorative processes in the brain, including the generation of microvessels and immature neurons, to improve cognitive recovery.
Fish is the best source of omega-3 fatty acids, especially cold-water fish like tuna, salmon, herring, and sardines. Omega-3s can also be found in plant oils like canola oil, nuts, and seeds such as flaxseed, walnuts, chia seeds, and soybeans.