Eating right can lower your stroke risk: a heart-healthy diet can protect your brain by combating the major risk factors for stroke: high blood pressure and elevated lipid levels.
The effects on blood pressure of whole dietary patterns as opposed to individual nutrients were demonstrated in ground-breaking 1997 research known as the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) study. Scientists supported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute found blood pressure levels fell significantly among people with mild hypertension or pre-hypertension who switched from a traditional American diet to a diet with reduced quantities of total fat (27 percent of calories) and saturated fat, plenty of fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains and nuts.
A second study published in 2000 found that people who restrict their sodium intake while following the healthy DASH diet reduce blood pressure even more.
Certain foods seem to offer special protection from stroke.
Folic acid--a nutrient found in enriched grains, dark leafy greens, legumes (lentils , chickpeas, etc.) papaya, peas, asparagus and nuts--acts to ring down high homocysteine levels associated with increased risk for stroke.
Research suggests that diets high in fiber, magnesium and potassium may reduce stroke risk by as much as 38 percent. Good sources of magnesium are seafoods, dry beans, whole grains and nuts. Potassium is found in bananas, dried fruits, molasses, cereals, nuts, and raw vegetables. Get your fiber from vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
Other research suggests that eating small amounts of dark chocolate may help lower blood pressure and improve blood vessel function in people with high blood pressure. Drinking milk seems to be beneficial, too: In one 28-year study of 400,000 adults, those who drank the most milk had a 17 percent lower chance of stroke than those who drank little or no milk. Other work suggests that people with high calcium intake are better able to recover from stroke.
THE DASH DIET FOOD GROUPS EXAMPLES Whole-grain products bread, cereal, crackers, pasta, rice, popcorn vegetables Tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, carrots, green beans Fruits Apricots, bananas, oranges, peaches, strawberries, etc. Lowfat or fat-free dairy foods Skim or 1% milk, lowfat/fat-free yogurt, lowfat/fat-free cheese Meats, poultry, fish various types--lean, fat trimmed, poultry skin removed Nuts, seeds, dry beans Almonds, peanuts, navy beans, lentils, sunflower seeds Fats and oils Soft margarine, lowfat mayonnaise, olive and canola oil Sweets Syrup, sugar, jelly, hard candies, soda, ices--low in fat FOOD GROUPS SERVING SIZE Whole-grain products 1 oz dry cereal, 1 slice bread, 1/2 cup cooked pasta/rice vegetables 1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked veg., 6 oz vegetable juice Fruits 1/4 cup dried, 1/2 cup prepared or 1 med. whole fruit, 6 oz juice Lowfat or fat-free dairy foods 8 oz milk, 1 cup yogurt, 1 1/2 oz cheese Meats, poultry, fish 3 oz cooked meats, poultry or fish, baked, broiled or roasted Nuts, seeds, dry beans 1/3 cup nuts, 1 Tbsp or 1/2 oz seeds, 1/2 cup cooked beans Fats and oils 1 tsp soft marg. or veg. oil, 2 Tbsp light mayo or salad dressi Sweets 1 Tbsp sugar, jelly or jam, 1/2 oz jelly beans, 8 oz lemonade FOOD GROUPS DAILY SERVINGS Whole-grain products 7 to 8 servings a day vegetables 4 to 5 servings a day Fruits 4 to 5 servings a day Lowfat or fat-free dairy foods 2 to 3 servings a day Meats, poultry, fish 1 to 2 servings a day Nuts, seeds, dry beans 4 to 5 servings a day Fats and oils 2 to 3 servings a day (fat-free dressing = 0 servings) Sweets 5 servings per week
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|Publication:||Mind, Mood & Memory|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2006|
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