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Diet After Stroke Blog Series 2

February 8th, 2011



Healthy eating can reduce your risk of stroke or having another stroke by reducing risk factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, being overweight and diabetes.

The following information should be used as a guide only and may not be appropriate if you are underweight or have swallowing problems. Ask a Dietitian for an eating plan to suit you.

Have plenty of:

Fruit and vegetables
You should aim to eat about five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit every day. Fruit and vegetables reduce your risk of stroke as they contain antioxidants which can help reduce damage to blood vessels potassium which can help control blood pressure fibre which can lower cholesterol folate (eg in green leafy f olate vegetables) which may reduce the risk of stroke.

Wholegrain breads and cereals

These include wholemeal or wholegrain breads, brown rice, wholemeal pasta, and breakfast cereals such as porridge. Wholegrain breads and cereals contain fibre, folate and other vitamins and may reduce the risk of stroke.


Aim to drink 8 -10 cups of fl uid per day unless you are on a fl uid restriction. Water is the best choice. Getting the right amount of fluid is particularly important if you have a swallowing problem and are only drinking thickened fluids.

Eat in moderation:

Meat, chicken, fish

Red meat and chicken can be included as part of a healthy diet. Be sure to choose lean cuts of meat, watch your portion size, trim off any visible fat and take the skin off chicken. Fish has been associated with lowering the risk of certain types of stroke. Try to include some fish at least two to three times a week.

Low fat dairy

The calcium and potassium in low fat varieties of dairy foods can help control blood pressure and may contribute to lowering the risk of stroke. Choose low fat dairy foods including milk, yoghurt, cheese and custard.

Eat in small amounts:

Healthy fats

Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are found in nuts, seeds, avocadoes and vegetable oils such as canola, olive and sunfl ower oils as well as spreads containing these.

Limit Unhealthy fats
These include saturated and trans fats. These can be found in butter, lard, fatty meats, fullcream dairy products, pastries, chips and some other snack foods (including fatty takeaway food). Saturated and trans fats can raise cholesterol and increase the risk of stroke.

Salt intake

Too much salt in your diet may raise your blood pressure and increase your risk of stroke. Choose no added salt or reduced salt products. Limit foods like salty snacks, foods in brine, processed meats and convenience meals and sauces which are high in salt. Limit salt added to your meals.


The NHMRC Dietary Guidelines for Australian Adults 2003 recommend limiting alcohol consumption to a daily level of two standard drinks for men and one standard drink for women.

Everyone should have at least one or two alcohol free days every week. A standard drink is a pot or middie of beer, a schooner/stubby/can of mid strength beer, 100mls of wine or a nip of spirits. It is a good idea to discuss your alcohol intake with your doctor as alcohol may interact with some of your medications or make it harder to control blood pressure.

More information

For expert nutrition and dietary advice contact an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) by visiting or call 1800 812 942

Note: This fact sheet is number 7 in a series. For a complete list of fact sheets, click here.

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Diet After Stroke Blog Series 1

January 28th, 2011


Many people return to their usual diet after stroke however others may need to modify their diet if they experience short or long-term difficulties with eating or drinking.

After a stroke, there is a greater risk of poor nutrition, poor fluid intake and weight loss.

This is often due to: swallowing problems (called dysphagia) problems with movement (eg using a knife and fork) problems with thinking (eg forgetting to eat) loss of appetite

Who can help?

A Dietitian can assess your diet and provide ways to help you meet your nutritional needs and prevent poor nutrition from slowing down your recovery. Dietitians often work with Speech Pathologists who look at the consistency of foods and fluids that you can swallow safely.

If you have severe swallowing problems you may have to be given nutrition and fluid through a feeding tube especially in the first month after stroke. If you require tube feeding for a longer period of time, your doctor may recommend a PEG tube which is placed directly into your stomach. Your Doctor, Speech Pathologist and Dietitian can provide more information on this.

Dietitians can provide a nutritional assessment and advice to decrease your risk of another stroke. These risk factors include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, being overweight, low fruit and vegetable intake and diabetes.

While you are recovering in hospital, nursing staff and/or your Dietitian should weigh you weekly and monitor how much you are eating and drinking. If you are at home, you may like to do this yourself.

For more infomation or to find an APD (Accredited Practising Dietitian) go to the Dietitics Association of Australia

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