Protein + Meal Replacement Shakes for Stroke Patients
Strokes are among the most frightening of medical developments that can strike a person. As the blood flowing to the brain is cut off, critical cells begin to die off, affecting fundamental systems throughout the body. One common effect of a stroke is prolonged difficulty talking or swallowing, as the muscles in the mouth and throat can be affected by the loss of brain tissue. This condition doesn’t affect all stroke patients, but those who do face it must often find new ways to take in the nutrients they need, since solid foods can prevent a choking hazard to those with trouble swallowing.
Protein and meal replacement shakes can offer an effective and healthy option for stroke patients. Call (855) 266-6733 today or visit our online shop for more information about the nutrients ENU nutritional shakes offer.
Important Nutrients for Stroke Patients
When recovering from a major illness or medical event, it is important to maintain a proper diet to promote healing and maintain a healthy body weight through recovery. This can be difficult for stroke patients, but their bodies nonetheless require the same vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients as before the stroke – even more so, as they need the strength to undergo physical and occupational therapy.
Perhaps the most important nutrient for patients in recovery is protein, an essential molecule that fuels the healing process in the body while helping to preserve and strengthen muscles. Protein is most often found in meats – beef, pork and poultry – and fish, which can require a significant amount of effort to chew and swallow, making them less than ideal for some stroke patients. However, many other sources exist, such as beans (which are easiest to swallow when refried), nuts (difficult to chew but easy to consume as a spread, such as peanut butter), and whole grains (crunchy when dry, but much easier to eat when soaked in milk or water).
Though protein is certainly impactful, patients shouldn’t neglect the other critical macronutrients, fats and carbohydrates. Fats and carbs may get a bad rap, but the simple fact is that they are necessary for many of the body’s functions. Perhaps most direct use for these nutrients is through the energy they provide. Simple carbs are a fast, accessible source of fuel for the body, while complex carbs take longer to break down and so provide lasting energy. Fats, too, can power the body; the fact that they’re dense in calories means you need less of them to hit your calorie needs, which can be helpful for those who can only swallow a little food at a time.
In most cases, doctors recommend a change in diet after a stroke to help reduce the chances of further strokes. Key among their recommendations are a reduction in saturated fats, cholesterol, sugars, and salt to lower blood pressure and improve overall cardiovascular health.
How to Get Nutrition When a Stroke Patient Has Difficulty Swallowing
Finding ways to keep your body fueled can be quite difficult if a stroke has affected the muscles around your mouth and throat. Chewing and swallowing can become a chore, and many foods that offer important dietary advantages can become impossible to eat. So what should a patient do to adjust to this new reality? Health care professionals, and especially dieticians or nutritional counselors, are good resources to answer this question in greater detail, but a few of the basics are easy to keep in mind:
- Try to time major meals for when you have the most energy during your day.
- Find soft, palatable foods that work for you, such as eggs, soup, yogurt, applesauce.
- Incorporate supplements, such as powered protein or nutrition shakes, to help you hit your dietary goals.
Meal replacement shakes can provide a quick, convenient, healthy option for those without the time or energy to prepare a proper meal. While they should not be relied on exclusively, these beverages can offer a healthful mix of nutrients to power the body without taxing the mouth. As with all products, however, consumers should be aware that differences in quality exist among the shakes you may find online or on your grocery store shelves. Some shakes pad their ingredients with corn syrup and other unhealthy additives; check out the label and nutrition facts before adding one of these to your diet.
ENU meal replacement shakes, on the other hand, offer balanced nutrition in a tasty blend of healthy ingredients. Each carton contains 20 grams of protein from whey and soy; heart-healthy fats from coconut and sunflower oils; wholesome carbs from sources like tapioca, brown rice, and quinoa; and more than 20 vitamins and minerals. They can even be combined with fruits, juices, supplements, and other ingredients to make a delicious smoothie with extra nutritional value.
Balanced Nutrition + Protein Shake for Stroke Patients in Recovery
With all the many lifestyle changes that can accompany a stroke, finding ways to make mealtime easier can go a long way toward lightening the load on patients. Meal replacement shakes from ENU help in this regard; by providing well-rounded nutrition in each carton, we make it easier than ever to maintain a healthy diet without having to struggle with solid foods. To learn more about how ENU products can help as you recover from a stroke, visit us online or call us at (855) 266-6733 today.