The steps needed to help you recover from surgery actually start as soon as you are diagnosed and not just after you wake in the hospital bed. Prior to surgery you should read as much as you can about what to expect during and after your surgery. The more you know and understand, the less fear of the unknown. The time to learn about this process is before surgery so that you can concentrate on getting well afterwards.
There are also a few lifestyle changes you can implement now that can help increase optimal outcome and speed up recovery after brain surgery.
Studies have shown that certain types of dietary factors can greatly influence the capacity of the brain to react to challenges. Here are a few to consider:
Fish-derived omega-3 fatty acids: A number of studies point to the healthy effects of omega-3 fatty acids on improving cognition, plasticity, and recovery of neurons after traumatic brain injury. One of the most important forms of omega-3 fatty acids is docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Evidence suggests that eating a diet rich in DHA is important in ensuring proper function of neurons and improving neuronal recovery after injury, such as brain surgery.
Vitamin E: This is another dietary supplement that has shown promise in protecting neurons and can be found in certain oils, nuts, and spinach. Vitamin E has been shown to have positive effects on memory performance in older people. Vitamin E functions as an antioxidant, reducing free radicals in the brain which would otherwise decrease optimal function of neurons.
Curcumin: A yellow curry spice, curcumin has been suggested to enhance recovery events after brain trauma, particularly in preserving cognition. In one study, curcumin was found to improve neuronal function in patients afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease.
Avoid eating saturated-fat foods: Diets that are rich in saturated fats appear to decrease levels of BDNF in the brain. BDNF, or brain-derived neurotrophic factor, has been observed as playing a significant role in protecting neurons from damage and disease as well as balancing synaptic transmission. Prior to surgery, begin eliminating ‘junk-food”—food that is high is saturated fats and refined sugars.
Exercise: Similar to a healthy diet, physical activity is considered to benefit brain function by increasing BDNF levels. Studies have indicated that a lifestyle of regular exercise can lead to a brain that is more resistant to damage. When diet and exercise are combined, the success of regeneration and healing seems to be more significant than when only one is implemented on its own.
Managing your diet and exercise has a strong therapeutic potential. If put into action prior to brain surgery, these changes may improve the outcome of brain surgery.
If you are experiencing neuro-related illness that cannot be reversed or improved with diet changes, Dr. Duma, a board certified neurosurgeon in Orange County, can help you determine if neurosurgery may be beneficial. Through cutting-edge technology and years of experience, our Newport Beach practice has been helping patients become healthier since 1997. To learn more about neurosurgery options, contact Dr. Christopher Duma for a one-on-one appointment or call our office at 949-642-6787.