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Health

Reducing Your Risk of a Stroke

160,000 people are victims of fatal strokes each year, making this the number three cause of death among Americans right behind heart disease and cancer. With so many people suffering from strokes, it is crucial that we identify the risks and ways to reduce our chances of a stroke.

What is a stroke?

A stroke occurs when brain cells die from a disruption in blood flow to the brain.  A blocked artery is an example of an event that can cause blood from flowing to the brain causing a blockage.

What are the risk factors? 

Risk factors include high blood pressure, elevated blood cholesterol, abnormal glucose tolerance, smoking, and left ventricular hypertrophy (an abnormality of the heart).   

Visit your doctor for a check-up to see if you are at risk for a stroke.  If you do have any of these risk factors, the good news is that you can get them under control.  Switching to a healthy lifestyle and following a balanced, well-chosen diet can help to reduce your risk.

What should I eat?

Chose a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, which are proven to help prevent strokes.  Because of the low fat content, they do not contribute to fat blockages that can weaken the arteries, causing them to rupture. 

Vegetables high in fiber carry excess fats and cholesterol out of the blood system that would eventually block the flow of blood to the brain.  Fruits and vegetables contain wonderful antioxidants that make blood cells less likely to clog the arteries…and they taste great, too!

Certain types of fish, grains, and seeds can help control blood pressure, reducing the blood's chance of forming clots.  

Check out the list below for specific categories of food that you can add to your diet today!

Fruits and Vegetables- Bananas, green beans, mangoes, and potatoes, leafy greens like swiss chard and kale, chili  peppers, onions, garlic, and leeks.

Grains, Nuts, and Seeds- Oats, oat bran, and other grains containing soluble fiber.  Sunflower and pumpkin seeds, almonds, & peanuts.

Cold-Water Fish- Salmon, tuna, sardines, and swordfish are all rich in omega-3's, which can lower the bad LDL cholesterol.

Red Wine & Black Tea- Flavonoids found in red wine and black tea can protect damage to the arteries.  Drinking red wine in moderation and even grape juice can help reduce your odds of having a stroke.

What foods should I avoid?

Avoid salty, fried, and fatty foods, as well as marbled red meats, and poultry with the skin on.  Tropical oils such as coconut, palm, and palm kernel are full of saturated fats and should be avoided!  It might be a bit difficult in the beginning, but before you know it, this way of eating will be so natural and your body will feel great!

If you or someone you love feels that you might be at risk for a stroke, see your doctor immediately and begin to change your lifestyle & eating habits.  Your health depends on it!


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professional. You should not stop taking prescribed medication without consulting your doctor.

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