A stroke, or cerebral vascular accident (CVA), is caused from a disruption of blood supply to the brain. An ischemic stroke (most common type) is brought on by a blood clot within the brain or neck. A hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a ruptured blood vessel.
When blood flow is unable to reach parts of the brain, brain cells begin to die within minutes. Depending on the affected area, the following can occur: motor loss, communication loss, visual field loss, bladder impairment, or impairment of mental activity.
Advanced age, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, previous transient ischemic attack ("mini strokes"), and cigarette smoking are risk factors for stroke.
Foods that Prevent Stroke
Diet can play a big role in preventing stroke. Eating the right foods (and avoiding unhealthy foods) can help prevent many complications that can lead to stroke. The following are foods that are believed to be particularly helpful.
In one study (published in Neurology – August 2002 issue), involving 5,600 men and women, individuals with low amounts of potassium in their daily diet (less than 2.4 grams a day) were 1.5 times more likely to suffer from a stroke than those with higher amounts in their daily diet (4 grams or more).
Foods rich in potassium include bananas, apples, oranges, prunes, kiwi, apricots, cantaloupe, peaches, mangoes, raisins, figs, watermelon, papaya, honeydew, pears, nectarines, tomatoes, avocados, winter squash, beets, cauliflower, spinach, cucumber, Brussels sprouts, eggplant, broccoli, cabbage, potatoes, milk, cheese, yogurt, oat bran, lima beans, soybeans, pinto beans, peas, lentils, peanuts, tuna, and halibut.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
According to research (published in Neurology – August 2008 issue), older adults who ate non-fried fish high in omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA at least 3 times a week were less likely to develop lesions that can lead to stroke. Fish include salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies.
Other foods that prevent stroke (help lower ones risk) include those high in antioxidants. Click here for information on antioxidants and a list of foods high in antioxidants.
Image courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (NLM).
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