Updated: Jun 8
(Or listen to my podcast).
It took me a few years to find out what the best foods for my concussion were, what supplements for concussions were helping, and what foods to avoid with a concussion. I would love to share what worked for me to reduce my symptoms and what foods make my concussion symptoms worse.
First of all, I just want you to know that I am not a nutrition expert and that everything I share is only based on my experience. I just hope it will help you further in your concussion recovery.
Foods to avoid with a concussion
Let's start with the foods to avoid with a concussion. The list of the foods below made my symptoms worse, and I try to avoid these foods as much as possible.
Coffee: at the beginning of my journey, I still drank coffee and never thought that it could make me feel worse. Coffee was just part of my morning ritual for years. I drank every day 2-3 cups of coffee. I couldn't even start my job before drinking coffee. I was a bit addicted, I guess. But after I sustained my concussion, I felt more anxious, and one day I had such pressure on my chest I could barely breathe after I drank one cup of coffee. This was a sign for me to completely stop drinking coffee. After that, I could handle my anxiety a bit better, and it felt better for my head. In between, I tried to drink coffee a few times, mostly with the hope it would clear up my head. Maybe one out of 10 times it did, but overall it made me feel worse.
Alcohol: Another thing I am not drinking anymore is alcohol. Before my accident, I drank around 2-3 times a week; I couldn't even go without alcohol for two weeks, I guess. Right after my accident, I tried to act like nothing was going on, so I didn't stop immediately, even when it made me feel worse. I just wanted to be normal; I couldn't explain how I felt, and stopping my habit of drinking alcohol would result in a lot of questions from my friends; I didn't want that to happen. But then there was a moment that I couldn't handle it anymore, so I had to stop. It helped to stop completely, and I read that there are even studies that say that it slows down your recovery.
Gluten: It took some time to find out that when I eat less gluten, it reduces my symptoms, I get more energy as well. It will cost a lot of energy to digest gluten, so when you don't eat them or when you eat less of them, it feels like you save energy that can go to your brain to heal. You will find gluten in bread, rice, pasta, cereals, cookies, crackers and things like that. I know it sounds like there is gluten in everything, but when you learn more about it, it turns out that there are so many products without gluten. So you can always give it a try.
Processed meat: Processed meats are all meat that has been smoked, salted, cured, dried, or canned. Before my accident, I ate everything, but now I have noticed a difference when I avoid those meats. I even try to eat less meat and change it from once a day to once a week. When I eat meat on that particular day, I always choose better quality and or organic pieces of meat.
Dairy: I know there are many opinions when it comes to dairy. My opinion is that it's a food/drink that is not for humans. It's made for little cows, and it contains a lot of hormones where a human body is not built for. It's very heavy for our digestion system to process it, and it's definitely not the best concussion food for your brain. There are so many studies that link dairy to a lot of diseases. I notice that it increases my inflammation, and when I don't eat dairy at all, my digestion system is working so much better, I have less fatigue, and my skin is more clear. Right after the accident, I got a lot of acne since dairy can lead to hormonal imbalances. Some people think dairy is only milk, but it is also yogurt, cheese, some butter, sour cream, cottage cheese, and most ice creams.
Sugar: this is the most important for me on the list of "foods to avoid with a concussion". I notice the biggest difference in cutting out the sugars in my diet. With sugar, I mean refined sugars and not the natural sugar which can be found in fruits and vegetables. I want you to know that cutting out sugar doesn't mean you only skip cookies, chocolate, cake and ice cream and things like that. We all know there is a lot of sugar in that. But to so many foods nowadays, they add sugar to it. They do that because sugar is so addictive and by adding sugar to it, the chance that you buy the product again is higher. You can check the ingredients list on the back of a product, but if you can't find sugar as an added ingredient, it doesn't mean it's not added. There are around 75 different names for sugar, so the food industries can better hide the sugar in the products.
Let me show you a list of the different names for sugar. So if you read the ingredients list and you don't want to eat sugar, you have to scan all those names. It may sound like an impossible job, but after a while, you will recognize them automatically.
Best foods for concussions - What do I eat MORE
I showed you the foods to avoid with a concussion, but now I want to share the best foods for concussions. Those foods I do eat MORE because there is a lot of food that is so good for your health and brain. My body and brain really need those foods to feel better, and I have noticed a drop in my symptoms when I add those products to my diet.
Nuts: Every day, I eat a handful of nuts. I love to bake them in my oven!
Avocado: I add avocado to my salads or to my morning smoothie.
Oils: I always use olive oil, coconut oil to bake things. When I eat a salad, I use walnut oil or sesame oil
Dark chocolate: I eat one piece of dark chocolate (85%) a day (sugar-free), or I add cacao to my morning smoothie
I eat olives, vegetables, and fruits as a snack
Fatty fish: I prefer salmon, tuna, mackerel or haring
Supplements for concussion
When it comes to supplements, there are some supplements for concussions that are good for healing your brain. I researched it, tried them, and it shows that those are the most helpful for me.
Omega 3 (twice a day)
Magnesium (twice a day)
Multivitamin (once a day)
Vitamin B (once a day)
Vitamin C (once a day)
Vitamin D (only during winter)
Foods for concussion - What will work for you?
Besides the lists of foods to avoid with a concussion, the best foods for concussions, and what supplements for concussions are helping, I would like to mention that we are all different and that I am not a nutritionist. For some, it will work; for some of us, it will not. The best thing is to try things yourself, and I hope it will reduce your symptoms as well.
I can imagine it is maybe a bit overwhelming to read all those things and try it all at once. So if you want to start with just one thing, my advice is to cut out the sugar; this has helped me the most! Do you have any questions or suggestions for me? I am always happy to connect!
During my concussion journey, I felt so lost and lonely.
I was feeling restless all the time. Doctors weren’t able to help me so I was feeling stuck. 🤦🏽♀️
My setbacks were the worst things ever and I didn’t know how to deal with them or prevent them. My days felt more like surviving than enjoying and I was always looking for a balance between rest and doing things.
Thankfully, I'm feeling much better now with the help of professionals who GET it and because of all tips and support from others in the same situation.
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