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5 Foods to Eat After Concussion

Read to me!


Headaches, pressure in your head, debilitating fatigue…

Concussion symptoms can make it so hard to do the everyday activities we used to take for granted. This includes eating.

You might feel like you’re not eating enough, or, that the foods you are eating aren’t the best foods for concussion recovery.

I’ve been where you are – multiple times. This is why I’ve put together this post on foods to eat after concussion.

These foods will give you the energy and nutrients your brain needs to recover, without making eating complicated.

Ready? OK!


5 Foods to eat after concussion

#1 Familiar foods to make decisions easier

Do you find it difficult to just decide what to eat?

The concussion causes your brain to have less energy. Because of this, you can’t multitask the same way you used to.

Your brain needs some rest. You can help by simplifying the number of food decisions you need to make in a day.

After a concussion, the brain has less energy. Keep food choices simple as it’s hard to multitask.

Grab a piece of paper and write out 3 foods or meals familiar to you. These can be foods you eat often or meals that are a “no-brainer” to put together. 

(Sorry about the bad brain pun… I couldn’t help myself 😉 )

Don’t worry if you have a hard time coming up with these three meal ideas. Even I don’t remember what I ate yesterday!

Enlist some help to make this list. Ask a family member or friend to help recall your go-to foods. You can also look at past grocery lists or receipts.

Go to your list whenever you can’t decide what to eat. Add more ideas to your list as they come up.

My “no-brainer” foods to eat after concussion are:

  • Toasted cheese sandwich with soup
  • Yogurt with granola and berries
  • Canned chickpeas, arugula or kale (pre-washed and chopped), plus grape tomatoes tossed with pasta and pesto – yum!

What are yours??


#2 Foods high in vitamin C

This image shows citrus fruit, cut open.
Vitamin C levels may be lower after brain injury. Choose food over supplements.

Your brain has about 100 times more vitamin C than most other parts of your body! A concussion causes damage to brain cells that vitamin C can help repair. 

After severe traumas, it’s thought that vitamin C gets used up. So, a person post-brain injury might have lower levels of this helpful vitamin.

It’s not clear whether taking a lot of extra vitamin C is helpful in brain injury. Taking too much might even have negative effects. So at this time, don’t worry about a vitamin C supplement. Focus on food instead!

Examples of foods high in vitamin C are:

  • Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, and their juices
  • Strawberries, kiwis
  • Bell peppers, tomatoes
  • Broccoli, cauliflower, spinach

#3 Food sources of unsaturated fats

Tip of an oil bottle pouring into a small glass bowl of olive oil with olives on a table.
Unsaturated fats are found mostly in oil, nuts, seeds, and fish. These are important for both structure and function in the brain.

Your brain has a lot of unsaturated fats! These fats help build the structure of your brain. They also help your brain cells do certain functions.

Studies show that one type of unsaturated fat, omega-3 fats, might help to prevent and treat brain injury.

A diet high in unsaturated fats is also thought to lessen brain damage and help maintain better cognitive function as we age.

Good food sources of unsaturated fats are:

  • Fish, especially salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring
  • Nuts such as walnuts, peanuts, almonds
  • Seeds such as hemp, flax, chia and sunflower seeds
  • Oils such as olive oil and canola oil

You can take an omega-3 supplement, however, it would be good to check first with your dietitian, pharmacist, or doctor. If you’re an athlete, supplements can also test positive for banned substances.


#4 Foods that are great for your gut

Blueberries and raspberries spilled off a wooden spoon on a table.
Berries have polyphenols – just one of the nutrients found to be good for gut and brain health.

Did you know that your brain and your gut talk to each other? When one is unhappy, the other tends to be unhappy too.

A number of my clients tell me that since their concussion they’ve had more gut problems like low appetite, bloating, pain, constipation, etc.

This is why foods that are good for your gut might also be some of the best foods for concussion recovery.

Some nutrients that are good for gut health include soluble fibres, polyphenols, and fermented foods: the more variety, the better for your gut health.

Try some of these foods that might help support your gut:

  • Soluble fibre foods: oats, ground flaxseed, sweet potato, tofu, carrots
  • Polyphenol foods: blueberries, cherries, strawberries, eggplant, kale, soy, dark chocolate
  • Fermented foods: yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, sourdough

#5 Spices and herbs

Four small wooden spoons with bright yellow, orange, red powdered spices.
Spices and herbs are a simple way to add more nutrition to your meals. These seem to help with inflammation.

When a concussion happens, the initial hit to the head is the first injury.

Your brain tries to repair the damage. Sometimes the repair effort goes on too long. This can cause a second injury, as well as prolonged concussion symptoms, due to inflammation

Spices and herbs have nutrients that help to lower inflammation. This is great because spices and herbs are some of the easiest ingredients to add to your food!

You can add spices and herbs to soups, sauces, meats, vegetables and grains as they cook. You can also get your spices and herbs through tea.

Try including some of these spices and herbs in your day:

  • Ginger, turmeric, garlic, onion
  • Rosemary, black pepper, cinnamon, clove
  • Black tea, green tea, herbal tea

I know I said I would share five foods to eat after concussion…

But there is a 6th food category I find really important!

#6 FOOD YOU LIKE!!

I’ll be the first to say that having a concussion is miserable.

Concussion symptoms limit a lot of your life. Things like work, get-togethers with friends, TV & movie time, workouts, etc.

With all these limitations, it’s my humble opinion that you don’t need to limit food unnecessarily.

A woman in a pink blazer eating a slice of pizza with a big smile on her face.
Cutting out a bunch of foods often leads to stress. When food is complicated and stressful, it no longer helps your concussion recovery… Enjoy some of your favourite foods while focusing on adding in some of the brain foods listed in this post.

Where a lot of other websites might tell you to cut out a bunch of your favourite foods in the name of healing, I say enjoy these foods!

Focus instead on adding to your diet the food ideas described in this post. This is how I approach my own concussion recovery and that of my clients.

It’s better to focus on what to eat instead of what foods to avoid with a concussion. This approach will help lower your stress and decision-making around food, which in turn helps you feel better in your recovery.


There are many other foods you can eat in your concussion recovery!

The foods I listed here are add-ons – they complement your overall diet.

There are many other important foods to help balance your diet, manage inflammation, and support your gut health.

You can book a free call with me HERE if you’d like some one-on-one help with this. 

On that call, we’ll talk about your concussion symptoms, your challenges with meal planning, and if we’re a good fit to work together.

If you’d like to explore more of my resources on this website, you can check out these related blog articles:

How to make a meal plan post brain injury

3 simple ways to eat anti-inflammatory post TBI

3 steps to come back from a setback


Thank you so much for being here! I hope this information has helped you find some of your own personal best foods for concussion recovery.

From one concussion warrior to another, I wish you well in your healing journey!

Best in brain health,

Krystal Merrells

Dietitian

Concussion Warrior

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