Finding the Right Diet for Stroke Prevention

Finding the Right Diet for Stroke Prevention

Written by M. Ferdinand, writer for DrugNews.net.

Fruits and vegetables

For those who have suffered a stroke, preventing another is top priority. A diet full of healthy foods can help control blood pressure, body weight, and many other risk factors. When choosing a diet beneficial to stroke prevention, keep the following information in mind:

What to Avoid

Cutting the following items completely out of your diet is inadvisable, as both cholesterol and sodium are required for your body to function correctly. However, limiting them is one of the best ways to control cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and weight.

Saturated Fats

A diet high in saturated fats may cause high cholesterol and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Saturated fats are:

  • Often solid at room temperature
  • Found in animal products such as meat, cheese, egg yolks, butter, and ice cream
  • Found in some vegetable oils such as palm, palm kernel and coconut oil

Trans Fats

A diet high in trans fats is also associated with high cholesterol and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Food products containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils should also be avoided.

Trans fats are found in:

  • The majority of fried foods
  • Stick margarine
  • Anything made with partially hydrogenated fats
  • Vegetable shortening

Cholesterol

Another important step in controlling high cholesterol is watching the cholesterol content in your diet. Here are seven great ways to do just that:

  • Cut back on how often you consume meats, poultry and other animal-derived foods
  • Limit meat portion sizes to 3 ounces
  • Trim the visible fat from meat
  • Remove the skin from poultry
  • Choose nonfat or low-fat dairy foods
  • Limit butter
  • Eliminate lard

Sodium

Many of us eat far more sodium than we need. Too much sodium can cause an increase in blood pressure as well as fluid retention. Limiting sodium intake can be achieved by:

  • Not adding salt to foods at the table
  • Substituting herbs and spices for table salt
  • Using fewer processed and canned foods
  • Choosing snack foods wisely

Potentially dangerous medication

If you are at risk for stroke, chances are you’ve been prescribed a blood thinning medication. Pradaxa is one of these blood thinners facing lawsuits for dangerous side effects such as internal bleeding resulting in unprecedented deaths (due to the lack of a reversal agent). Make sure you stay informed, and avoid dangerous medications like this one.

What to Enjoy

Prevention diets aren’t all doom and gloom. There are tons of delicious, healthy foods available for your enjoyment!

Foods Rich in Fiber

Fiber is perfect for stroke prevention as it can reduce cholesterol and your overall risk for cardiovascular disease. High fiber intake can also help control blood sugar, promote regularity, and prevent gastrointestinal disease. Try the following foods to up your fiber consumption:

  • Whole grain cereals and breads
  • Whole wheat pastas
  • Oatmeal
  • Raspberries, pears and apples
  • Barley
  • Bran
  • Brown rice
  • Beans
  • Almonds, pistachios and pecans
  • Artichokes
  • Peas
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Sweet Corn
  • Carrots

Foods Loaded With Potassium

Recent studies show that reducing sodium intake and increasing potassium rich foods in your diet can reduce high blood pressure. Furthermore, there are some really tasty options when it comes to getting your daily dose of potassium.

Try the following foods:

  • White Beans
  • Spinach
  • Potatoes (with skin)
  • Dried Apricots
  • Baked Acorn Squash
  • Yogurt (Plain, Skim/Non-Fat)
  • Salmon
  • Avocado
  • White Mushrooms
  • Bananas

Foods Stuffed With Magnesium

Another study found that increasing magnesium intake by 100mg per day can reduce your risk of stroke by 8%. You can find a high concentration of magnesium in the following foods:

  • Halibut
  • Mackeral
  • Boiled spinach
  • Bran breakfast cereal
  • Almonds
  • Cocoa
  • Bran breakfast cereal
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Pumpkin seeds

Foods Bursting With Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Eating more fish is a great way to cut down on consumption of red meats and poultry, which is helpful in controlling your cholesterol. Besides the aforementioned benefit, fatty fish are chock full of omega 3 fats which improve blood flow by reducing inflammation in the arteries and making blood less likely to clot.  Here are some great sources of omega-3 fatty acids (even some non-fishy ones):

 

  • Salmon
  • Halibut
  • Sardines
  • Scallops
  • Shrimp
  • Flax Seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Soybeans
  • Tofu

Foods Packed With Antioxidants

Antioxidants benefit the circulatory system by reducing inflammation, preventing plaque build-up in the arteries, and improving blood flow by helping blood vessels dilate.  These delicious fruits are loaded with antioxidants:

  • Blueberries
  • Cranberries
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Prunes
  • Plums
  • Apples

Taking the appropriate steps to control your cholesterol, blood pressure and other stroke risk factors isn’t always easy. However, when the end result is a longer, fuller life, the price is a small one to pay.

 

MFerdinand-Madeline Ferdinand is a writer for DrugNews.net. She likes to play card games and go on walks with her mother who had a stroke two years ago.

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