The Best Foods for Brain Injury Recovery

It may be surprising to hear that what a patient with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) eats can affect their recovery. Deficiencies in certain nutrients can disrupt brain functioning, impacting a patient's ability to think clearly. As a result, it is important TBI patients get the essential vitamins and nutrients they need to fuel the brain. 

A patient with a TBI needs to have a diet with enough nutritional calories to help the brain function properly. There are certain foods that brain injury residential facilities recommend for recovery and also foods that patients should avoid. 

What are Beneficial Foods for Brain Injury Patients?

For patients with a Traumatic Brain Injury, it is recommendated that they eat foods rich in vitamins and minerals, specifically:

Foods High in Omega-3 Fatty acids

Foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids are excellent for patients with a TBI. It helps rebuild the brain, which is especially essential for patients with brain injuries.  

High omega-3 fatty acids foods include fish and flaxseed oil. Fish high in Omega 3 include salmon, mackerel, and sardines. 

Flaxseed oil is also high in omega-3 fatty acids, though you need more when compared to the amount found in fish. Still, it is rich in the mineral and an excellent alternative to fuel the brain with the omega-3 fatty acid the brain needs. 

Fruits and Vegetables

Greens, including Kale and Spinach, are nutrient-rich. Leafy greens contain high levels of B vitamins and high levels of Omega-3. Vitamin B is beneficial to the brain as it improves neuron connections in the brain after a TBI. 

Antioxidants are known to protect the brain from damage, and they reduce inflammation. Berries are rich in antioxidants. They can help to improve memory in brain injury patients. Berries also contain nutrients that help produce new brain cells. Berries are a fantastic choice for patients with a TBI to add to their diet. 

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is beneficial because it is high in magnesium and antioxidants. Ideally, the chocolate should be at least 70% cocoa. Dark chocolate is high in sugar, so patients should eat it in moderation. That said, there are health benefits, so it is a good choice for patients with brain injuries.

Red Meat

Red meat contains many nutrients that are considered essential for brain health. They have high levels of zinc, often depleted in brain injury patients. Zinc also is known to aid in the formation of memories, so it is an important nutrient for patients with a TBI. 

What are Foods Brain Injury Patients Should Avoid?

Foods that are high in saturated fat and sugar should be avoided or eaten sparingly, including: 

  • Dairy products 
  • Processed meats
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Salty foods
  • Candy and other sweets

Alcohol is especially important to avoid as it can disrupt healing and lead to further decline in neurological and cognitive functioning

The Best Foods for Brain Injury Recovery

A Neuro Rehabilitation Facily that Knows the Importance of Diet for Brain Injury Patients

If your loved one requires post-acute rehabilitation, consider Neulife, one of Florida's most prominent brain injury rehabilitation centers.

A healthy diet that promotes recovery for our patients is just one component we provide. We take a holistic approach for each patient to create a personalized treatment plan that is individualized to the patient's specific needs. 

We treat many TBI patients, including those requiring catastrophic rehabilitation.

​​Schedule a tour to see our facility to decide if it may be appropriate for you or your loved one. We are also always here to answer questions. Reach out to us at 1-888-626-3876, or make a referral. We look forward to partnering with you in recovery. 

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The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.


Dedicated to providing the highest caliber of care to individuals with brain injuries, NeuLife Rehabilitation is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).
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