About 80% of strokes among Americans are due to clots in blood vessels of the brain and head. Eating an extra daily serving of foods that help to prevent clots, keep blood vessels flexible and unclogged, and help maintain normal blood pressure, might reduce the risk of stroke by as much as 60%!
Research has shown that fruits and vegetables not only reduce the risk of stroke, but they also diminish the damage if one occurs. A Belgian study found that having a lot of beta-carotene and vitamin A in the bloodstream in the event of a stroke might prevent death or disability from the stroke. Foods rich in beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A in the body, include dark orange (carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin) and dark green leafy (spinach, collards, kale) vegetables.
Plant foods are high in potassium, which helps to lower blood pressure and support the function of artery walls. Research analyzed the diet of 859 men and women over the age of 50 and found that eating just one extra serving of potassium-rich foods daily reduced the risk of stroke by 40%. Fruits, vegetables, and beans are excellent sources. Processed foods are usually high in sodium and low in potassium. Check with your doctor if you are taking potassium-based medication before adding potassium-rich foods to your diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel), avocados, walnuts, flax, chia, and hemp seeds, can increase arterial flexibility and help make blood less prone to clotting. Eating saturated animal fats tend to make cells more rigid and promote inflammation. Eat lots of anti-inflammatory vegetables with red meat!
Green tea has been studied for its high antioxidant value that seems to offer protection against damage to blood vessels. Drink organic green tea for the most benefits.
To help lower your risk of having a stroke:
Eat five or more servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day. Include orange ones and leafy greens.
Eat wild-caught fatty fish, like salmon, mackerel, sardines, or herring, two times a week, or take a quality fish oil supplement that has been tested for mercury. Ask your doctor about this dietary recommendation if you are taking anti-coagulant medication.
Eat one-half to one cup of beans three to four times a week.
Eat a handful or two of raw, unsalted nuts and seeds daily, or one to two tablespoons of unsalted, unsweetened nut or seed butter.
Drink one to three cups of organic green tea on most days (if you are sensitive to caffeine, try decaffeinated).
In addition, enjoy hawthorn berry tea, an herb well studied for its heart-supporting benefits.
Avoid processed foods, especially when there is more sodium than potassium listed on the label. If the sodium count per serving is more than twice the calories, don’t eat it!
Keep learning to be healthy!
Lisa Hernandez, Certified Natural Health Consultant
1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care professional about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.