Is the secret to stroke recovery in your gut?

Nothing can prepare you for a stroke. It’s sudden. And it’s scary. And there are no promises when it comes to recovery.

But what if there was a way to make sure that, if you had a stroke, the repercussions would be less severe, and you would recover quicker?

I’m sure you’d want to know… especially if it was something safe and natural that you could easily do…

Like improving your gut health.

You heard me. Improving your gut health could affect stroke recovery. Why?

There’s a direct line of communication between your gut and your brain. In fact, it’s proven that imbalances in your gut can contribute to central nervous system disorders. And more and more studies show that a healthy gut could lead to much better stroke outcomes.

One recent study even shows that there may be a nutrient found in common foods that can help your brain recover from a stroke faster…

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Short-chain fatty acids feed the gut and fuel stroke recovery

New research published in the Journal of Neuroscience found that mice who receive short-chain fatty acid supplements recover from strokes better.

In the study, researchers gave some mice water containing short-chain fatty acid supplements for four weeks and others regular water. Next, they induced strokes in the mice and watched what happened with their recovery…

The mice who received the short-chain fatty acid supplements recovered quicker and more completely than mice who didn’t. They had less motor impairment and increased spine growth on dendrites — nerve cells crucial to memory. The mice who received the supplement also expressed more genes connected to their microglia, immune cells in the brain.

Researchers suspect short-chain fatty acids act as messengers from the gut to the brain and impact how the brain responds to injury. And that’s good news because it’s easy to produce more short-chain fatty acids in your gut if you eat the right foods…

Fill your belly with short-chain fatty acids

How do you get more short-chain fatty acids in your gut?

Well, short-chain fatty acids are produced when you feed the healthy bacteria in your gut their favorite food — fiber.

Related: The amazing healing power of fiber

Certain types of fiber encourage short-chain fatty acid production better than others, like inulin, pectin, resistant starch, and fructooligosaccharides. Here are some foods that contain the fibers that fuel stroke recovery:

  • Artichokes
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Onions
  • Wheat
  • Rye
  • Asparagus
  • Bananas
  • Barley
  • Rice
  • Beans
  • Legumes
  • Potatoes
  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Carrots
  • Oranges

And FYI… this isn’t the only study that ties gut health to better stroke recovery. A few years back, researchers found that antibiotics worsened stroke recovery in mice by messing up the balance of their gut bacteria.

So, get your fiber fix, pronto!

Sources:

  1. Harnessing the microbiome to improve stroke recovery — MedicalXpress
  2. Short-chain fatty acids improve post-stroke recovery via immunological mechanismsThe Journal of Neuroscience
  3. Targeting Gut Microbes May Help Stroke Recovery — Scientific American
  4. How Short-Chain Fatty Acids Affect Health and Weight — Healthline

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Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.