Stroke diet – the six dietary changes to reduce your risk of a stroke

Susan S. Johnson

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Strokes are life-threatening and should be considered a medical emergency. After having a stroke, you may need surgery and special medication, and you could be left with long-term brain issues. You can’t always prevent a stroke, but you can significantly reduce your risk of having a stroke by changing your lifestyle, including eating a healthy diet. Here are the six dietary changes to make to reduce your risk, according to The Stroke Association.

You don’t have to eat a perfect diet to reduce your risk of a stroke, you just have to make little tweaks to your diet.

Alongside regular exercise, not smoking and cutting down on alcohol, eating a healthy diet can cut your chances of a stroke significantly.

The NHS site points out that if you’ve had a stroke in the past, these measures are doubly important because you are at risk of having another stroke.

The reason why diet is so important for stroke prevention is quite simple.

The Stroke Association explained: “Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help to lower your blood pressure and control diabetes.

“Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is made in your body and can also be absorbed from foods.

“If there’s too much cholesterol in your blood, it can cause fatty deposits to build up in your arteries and restrict the flow of blood. “However, eating well can reduce your cholesterol level.”

READ MORE- High cholesterol symptoms: How long are your toenails?

Stroke diet:

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Stroke diet:

Stroke diet:

© Express
Stroke diet:

More fruit and vegetables

It’s not all about cutting back on junk food, increasing your fruit and vegetable intake can reduce your risk of stroke.

The Stroke Association explained: “Fruit and vegetables are important sources of vitamins and minerals.

“You should aim to have five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.”

Some experts recommend foods high in potassium such as sweet and white potatoes, bananas, tomatoes, prunes and melons, or magnesium-rich foods such as spinach and edamame for stroke prevention.

More fibre

Fibre not only helps you to feel fuller for longer and helps with digestion and constipation prevention, but it also can reduce your risk of a stroke.

The Stroke Association said: “Foods that are high in fibre help to reduce the amount of cholesterol in your blood.

“When choosing starchy foods, go for wholegrain cereals, brown rice or grains such as whole wheat couscous.”

Stroke diet:

Stroke diet:

Stroke diet:

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Stroke diet:

Healthy protein

Protein plays many critical roles in the body, such as fuelling the process of oxygen being carried around the body in your blood.

Eating saturated fats can raise your cholesterol, so try to reduce the amount of saturated fat you eat and choose healthier proteins such as lean cuts of meat, beans and lentils.

The Stroke Association added: “It’s a good idea to eat two portions of fish every week, especially oily fish like mackerel, sardines or salmon, as these contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can prevent blood clots and lower blood pressure.

“Vegetarian or vegan sources of protein include tofu, mycoprotein (such as Quorn), textured vegetable protein and tempeh.”


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Stroke diet:

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Stroke diet:

Less fat and sugar

We all need small amounts of fat and sugar in our diets, but too much can lead to weight problems which increase your risk of a stroke.

The Stroke Association warned: “Food that has been fried in butter, oil or ghee will contain high amounts of fat.

“Use vegetable, nut and olive-based oils instead.

“Processed meats, full-fat cheese and manufactured cakes and biscuits all contain a lot of saturated fat, so try to limit the amount of these in your diet.

“The high levels of sugar in many soft drinks, ready meals and fast food can all add up to weight gain.

“Eating more homemade meals and snacks can help cut the sugar in your diet.”

No frying

The way you cook your food is just as important as what you eat.

Steaming, boiling and grilling are all healthier than frying, so try to use these methods as much as possible.

Frying adds extra fat, so fried foods should be enjoyed as occasional treats rather than as a regular part of your diet.

Stroke diet:

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Stroke diet:

Watch the salt

Too much salt can increase your blood pressure and you should not eat more than 6g (or a teaspoon) of salt per day.

The Stroke Association explained: “Much of the salt we eat is ‘hidden’ in processed foods like ready meals, crisps, nuts, cake and biscuits and processed meats.

“Avoid adding salt to food when you’re cooking or at the table.

“Try using fresh ginger, lemon juice and chillies or dried herbs and spices to flavour food instead.

“Some people use low-sodium salt products to help them cut down on salt.

“Make sure you check with your GP or pharmacist before using them, as they are not suitable for people with kidney problems and those using medication that affects your potassium levels.”

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