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I live with an increased risk of stroke (STR). I have chronic atrial fibrillation. Being a bit handicapped I am somewhat sedentary during my day. I try to make up for these two increased stroke risks (afib and sedentary lifestyle) by eating foods and taking supplements that will reduce my stroke risk. Or, to put it differently, I’m looking for relatively easy therapies to reduce my stroke risk. “Easy” might be the wrong word but I hope you understand my thinking…
Strokes are common problem in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “Every year, more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke. About 610,000 of these are first or new strokes.2 Further, About 87% of all strokes are ischemic strokes, in which blood flow to the brain is blocked.
Whether you have been told you have an increased risk of stroke or some other formal diagnosis, I think it is in your best interest to assume that you do have an increased risk of stroke. The nutrition and supplementation below are lifestyle therapies that will reduce your risk of stroke as well as many other chronic disases.
If you have any questions about your risk of stroke, please scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply to you ASAP.
“A large analysis from Sweden followed 37,103 Swedish men for ten years. The Swedish results similarly showed that those who reported the highest chocolate consumption, averaging 62.9 grams per week, were the group who had the lowest stroke risk…”
“Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body…Moreover, magnesium is essential for the regulation of muscular contraction, blood pressure, insulin metabolism, cardiac excitability, vasomotor tone, nerve transmission and neuromuscular conduction… Based on magnesium’s many functions within the human body, it plays an important role in prevention and treatment of many diseases. Low levels of magnesium have been associated with a number of chronic diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, cardiovascular disease (e.g., stroke), migraine headaches, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
In 3 large US cohorts, higher circulating levels of DHA were inversely associated with incident atherothrombotic stroke and DPA with cardioembolic stroke. These novel findings suggest differential pathways of benefit for DHA, DPA, and eicosapentaenoic acid.
“But to get the full benefits, plant-strong eaters must have a regular, reliable source of B12 — meaning B12-fortified foods or supplements.
One reason why plant-based diets protect against stroke is due to the fiber found in whole plant foods.
Studies find that for every seven grams of fiber you eat per day, you get nearly a 7% drop in the risk of first-time stroke. But less than 3% of Americans meet the minimum daily recommendation for fiber.
Plant foods are also filled with antioxidants. Antioxidant-packed foods help reduce inflammation and prevent plaque buildup in the arteries, and they also improve blood flow.
In a study of more than 30,000 older women over a period of 12 years, those who ate the most antioxidant-rich foods had the lowest stroke risk. (However, choosing antioxidant supplements didn’t appear to help.)
On average, plant foods contain 64 times more antioxidants than animal foods. But you should always strive for a variety of fruits, veggies, herbs, and spices at every meal, so you can continuously flood your body with a wide range of antioxidants.
Nuts-In one study, adding an ounce of nuts per day seemed to cut the risk of stroke in half.
According to studies led by Harvard researchers, greens turned out to be associated with the strongest protection against major chronic diseases, including a 20% reduction for strokes (and heart disease) for every additional serving.
Chocolate-According to population studies that followed people over time, those who ate chocolate appeared to have lower rates of stroke. But the sugar and dairy that come with most types of chocolate aren’t linked to positive health outcomes, so dark chocolate with high cacao content is the best choice.
Citrus fruits-According to a study of 70,000 women published in the journal Stroke, women who consumed the most flavonoids from citrus fruits over a 14-year period had a 19% lower risk of stroke than women who consumed the fewest.
Whole grains- Eating whole grains has been found to be associated with a reduced risk of stroke.
Garlic- Garlic is a great choice for reducing stroke risk. A human study found that regular garlic consumption resulted in a 50% reduction in rates of STR.
Tomatoes-High levels of lycopene, which is found in tomatoes, may be associated with a significantly reduced risk of stroke. According to an analysis published in Neurology, which followed more than 1,000 Finnish men aged 46 to 55, those with the highest lycopene levels were 55% less likely to have a STR.
Coffee and green tea-The results of a 13-year study of more than 80,000 Japanese adults found that those who drank at least one cup of coffee a day had a 20% reduced risk of STR. And those who drank 2 to 3 cups of green tea daily had a 14% reduced risk of stroke.
Potassium-rich foods- Eating more potassium-rich foods is associated with a significantly lower stroke risk. In one study, a 1,600 milligrams per day increase in potassium intake was associated with a 21% lower STR risk — and this amount didn’t even bring many study participants to the minimum daily recommendations. But less than 2% of Americans reach the daily potassium intake because most people don’t eat enough unprocessed plant foods.Potassium is abundant in fruits and vegetables. Greens, beans, and sweet potatoes are excellent sources of potassium.
Magnesium-rich foods-According to a meta-analysis of studies, higher magnesium intake is associated with a reduced risk of STR. Beans, leafy greens, and whole grains are all loaded with magnesium.