The Tastiest Foods That Could Prevent a Stroke

A stroke is one of the most serious events that can happen in a person’s lifetime. In fact, a stroke can reduce your life expectancy by an average of 12 years! So preventing a stroke can help prolog your life by an average of 12 years.

Stroke is not a simple illness, and there are varied causes and consequences. While there is always an element of unpredictability when it comes to a stroke, there are also several predictable risk factors that can increase the likelihood of a stroke.

 

On a more positive note, a number of controllable lifestyle habits have been scientifically proven to prevent the occurrence of a stroke. Exercise has been proven to reduce the risk of stroke. Stress management decreases the incidence of stroke and improves healing during stroke recovery.

Your diet can also have a substantial impact on stroke prevention. The most well recognized dietary influence on stroke is the control of salt intake, because salt impacts hypertension, which in turn contributes significantly to the likelihood of a stroke. Lowering salt in the diet can help prevent stroke in people who have or are prone to hypertension and people with less than perfect kidney function. Besides salt, there are several other types of food that have been shown to impact stroke. This long list of stroke fighting foods gives you plenty to add to your shopping list!

Fish

People who regularly eat fish have been shown to experience a decreased rate of stroke.

A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated a decreased incidence of stroke in people who eat fish compared to those who do not eat fish. The improvement was noticeable for those who ate fish 1-3 times per month, but improved even more with fish consumption of 1/week or more.

Some possible mechanisms that could explain this protective effect include direct protection of the brain itself and stimulation of a rich blood vessel supply in the brain.

Fruit and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables have also been shown to decrease the risk of stroke. A study published in the May issue of the journal Stroke examined over 760,000 participants. The results demonstrated that 200 grams of fruit or vegetables per day (about 1 cup or almost ½ pound) decreased the risk of stroke by approximately 1/3. Some fruit and vegetables that have been proven to reduce the risk of stroke include mushrooms and soy.

Fiber

Fiber is widely known to be beneficial for prevention of colon cancer. But, a high fiber diet has also been shown to decease stroke. Fiber is found in nuts, beans, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

Protein 

Moderate protein intake has been associated with decreased stroke. Protein is found in red meat, chicken, pork, fish, eggs and beans.

Tea

Tea has also been associated with a lower the incidence of stroke.

Some possible mechanisms for this effect include neuroprotection and also prevention of damage to the inner lining of the blood vessels, which decreases the risk of blood clot formation and blood vessel blockage.

Coffee

Coffee, surprisingly, has also been found to help protect against stroke.

Red Wine

Have you wondered whether red wine really is is good for or whether that is just a popular legend? Well, science shows that red wine really does have stroke fighting action!

Red Meat

Decreasing red meat has been associated with a lower risk of stroke. This may be partially due to the fat content, but is also a result of other characteristics of red meat. However, red meat provides needed protein and iron. So decreasing or eliminating red meat requires substitution with other protein and iron containing food.  Other sources of protein include chicken, fish or nuts.  Other sources of iron include leafy greens, poultry and broccoli.

Chocolate

Believe it or not, chocolate has been associated with a lower stroke risk. Find out more here.

Overall, it may be difficult to adapt to healthy eating habits, but, with so many delicious choices, it can be done! Find out how you can easily incorporate healthy eating into your lifestyle here.

Sources

Nabavi SM, Daglia M, Moghaddam AH, Nabavi SF, Curti V, Tea Consumption and Risk of Ischemic Stroke: a Brief Review of the Literature, Current Pharmacological

Grassi D, Desideri G, Di Giosia P, De Feo M, Fellini E, Cheli P, Ferri L, Ferri C, Tea, flavonoids, and cardiovascular health: endothelial protection, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, December 2013

Wang J, Shi Y, Zhang L, Zhang F, Hu X, Zhang W, Leak RK, Gao Y, Chen L, Chen J, Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids enhance cerebral angiogenesis and provide long-term protection after stroke, Neurobiology of Disease, August 2014

Zhang M, Wang S, Mao L, Leak RK, Shi Y, Zhang W, Hu X, Sun B, Cao G, Gao Y, Xu Y, Chen J, Zhang F, Omega-3 fatty acids protect the brain against ischemic injury by activating Nrf2 and upregulating heme oxygenase 1, The Journal of Neuroscience, January 2014

Xun P, Qin B, Song Y, Nakamura Y, Kurth T, Yaemsiri S, Djousse L, He K, Fish consumption and risk of stroke and its subtypes: accumulative evidence from a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies, The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, November 2012

Bernstein AM, Pan A, Rexrode KM, Stampfer M, Hu FB, Mozaffarian D, Willett WC, Dietary protein sources and the risk of stroke in men and women, Stroke, March 2012

Hu D, Huang J, Wang Y, Zhang D, Qu Y, Fruits and vegetables consumption and risk of stroke: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies, Stroke, June 2014

Casiglia E, Tikhonoff V, Caffi S, Boschetti G, Grasselli C, Saugo M, Giordano N, Rapisarda V, Spinella P, Palatini P, High dietary fiber intake prevents stroke at a population level, Clinical Nutrition, October 2013

Zhang , Xu G, Yang F, Zhu W, Liu X, Quantitative analysis of dietary protein intake and stroke risk, Neurology, July 2014

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