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Role of Nutrition in Neurological Disorders

Dysphagia or Difficulty in swallowing, is a common problem in patients with neurological diseases, often resulting in aspiration pneumonia, compromised nutrient intake, dehydration, and malnutrition.

Dysphagia diets must be highly individualized, depending on the patient’s chewing and swallowing ability. It’s best to check with your speech and language pathologist and get yourself evaluated for dysphagia.

  • Food items used in pureed preparations should be thoroughly cooked. This causes the loss of a significant amount of their vitamin and mineral content and often the prescription of a multivitamin is necessary to ensure that the patient receives sufficient micronutrient intake.

  • Constipation is very common among these patients, since texture manipulation through stirring and diluting the food items results in feeds relatively low in dietary fiber.

Nutrition in Stroke Patients:

Malnutrition is common in patients with stroke, caused either by their increased nutritional needs or by their compromised nutritional intake, and can prolong the recovery.

  • A diet high in potassium, low in sodium, and rich in vegetables, fruits, cereal fiber, and whole grains may be ideal for reducing stroke risk.

  • Individuals who consume meat and other foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol tend to have higher stroke risk.

  • Fish consumption and the intake of long-chain omega 3 fatty acids is inversely associated with cerebrovascular disease risk.

  • Higher intakes of fruits and vegetables are inversely associated with the risk of stroke.

  • The Obese or overweight population has an increased risk of stroke.

Nutrition in Parkinson’s disease:

  • Parkinson’s disease frequently affects patients’ nutritional intake. Nutritional intervention should aim to promote an adequate dietary intake, taking into account any difficulties in feeding due to symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

  • For inadequate intake or underweight, Food fortification (e.g. adding high-calorie products such as butter, and cheese, milk powder/ cream to appropriate foods), Nutrient-dense foods (e.g. milk and dairy products, meat) Dietary supplementation should be incorporated.

  • Swallowing difficulties: Texture modification, under the advice of speech and language therapist

  • Tremor: Large-handled cutlery, two-handled cup, non-slip mat/damp cloth underplate (liaise with an occupational therapist)

  • Drug side affects: Dietary modification to reduce nausea and vomiting (e.g. dry foods, exclusion of trigger foods)

  • Constipation : Increase fiber (e.g. increase fruit and vegetables, high-fiber options, such as whole meal bread, bran/fiber cereals) and fluid

  • Overweight : Advice on diet through dietitian, and exercise (liaise with physical Therapist)



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