Dietary Prevention of Stroke



This article only brushes past care and factors to consider in dietary management of stroke patients, I hope to bring a more comprehensive piece on that to you as soon as I can. For now this dwells mostly on good feeding practices to avoid stroke. Please bear with me.
How Stroke Can Affect Eating and Nutrition:

Healthy food habits can help you reduce three risk factors for stroke — poor cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and excess weight. Diets high in saturated fat and transfat can raise blood cholesterol levels. Diets high in sodium can contribute to increased blood pressure, and high-calorie diets can contribute to obesity. A diet with five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day may reduce the risk of stroke.

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Stroke can also impair a person’s ability to swallow(dysphagia):
Swallowing problems may result from weakening of the tongue or loss of coordination of tongue movements. Food can become pocketed between the cheek and teeth and drooling may occur because of an inability to seal the lips.
The person may also:
*Choke and cough during and after meals
*Be unable to suck from a straw
*Lack a gag reflex
*Suffer from chronic upper respiratory infection
*If calorie and nutritional needs cannot be met, the person may become malnourished, a condition characterized by weight loss and a poor appetite.
Diet modifications need to be individualized according to the type and extent of these impairments. A registered dietitian (R.D.) can develop a plan of care that will provide a satisfying and nutritionally adequate diet.
Tips for eating well with swallowing problems:
1.) Liquids of thicker consistency are easier to swallow.
2.) Drink eight cups of liquid each day to meet fluid needs.
3.) Very warm and well-chilled foods make swallowing easier.
4.) Eat small meals frequently throughout the day to meet nutrient needs.
5.) Eat moist foods, such as casseroles and foods with sauces.
Dietary Tips For Prevention of Stroke:

Eat a well-balanced diet with an emphasis on fresh vegetables and fruits; lean, clean protein foods; and whole grains. This diet is important for the health of the blood vessels. It also ensures that you receive an abundant supply of important vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals (antioxidant compounds in plants) that fight free-radical damage and help increase the oxygenation of tissues, including those of the brain.
Make sure that your diet includes the blue and purple fruits and vegetables, such as concord grapes, eggplant, and red cabbage. These foods contain pigments called anthocyanidins. The anthocyanidins in wine grapes are believed to help lower the risk of stroke (and heart attack).
Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that counteract/prevent the damage from free radicals. One British study found that those who eat the most fruit experience 32 percent fewer strokes. A diet high in antioxidants helps prevent hemorrhagic as well as ischemic stroke. This reduces the likelihood of bleeding in the brain.
Enjoy carrots often. In a study of 87,000 nurses conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard University, subjects who ate five or more servings of carrots every week had a 68-percent lower risk of suffering a stroke compared with those who ate one serving a month or less.
Avoid saturated and hydrogenated fats. Eliminate dairy products (except for small amounts of the low-fat varieties), red meat, eggs, margarine, shortening, tropical oils such as coconut and palm oil, and all fried foods. Saturated and hydrogenated fats raise cholesterol levels, especially that of LDL (“bad cholesterol”) and promote the buildup of fatty plaques in the arteries.
If you eat meat every day, you may double your stroke risk. Yale neurologist John Lynch, M.D. tracked 6,500 stroke-free men between ages 57 and 67 for 10 years. Twelve percent of the men who ate meat daily had strokes. Those who ate meat only one to three times a month, only 5.4 percent experienced strokes.
Eat Foods Rich in Vitamin Bs: Fruits and vegetables, in addition to being rich in antioxidants, also contain generous supplies of vitamin B6 and folic acid. These B vitamins reduce levels of homocysteine. Homocysteine has been shown to increase the risk for stroke (and heart disease).
Spinach, carrots, peas, walnuts, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, fish (especially salmon and herring), chicken, and eggs are good source for vitamin B6. Foods rich in folic acid include spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, asparagus, and whole wheat.
Eat Plenty of Fish. Cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, and herring are the richest sources of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, but most other fish and seafood contain some as well. Dutch researchers tracked the health, diet, and lifestyles of people in the Netherlands, for many years. They found that those who eat fish regularly have a lower rate of stroke than those who don’t.
Add Foods Containing Alpha- Linolenic Acid. Alpha-linolenic acid is an essential fatty acid that is similar to the health-enhancing omega-3 fatty acids found in fish. Alpha-linolenic and omega-3 fatty acids help prevent the internal blood clots that trigger stroke. You can obtain alpha- linolenic acid from canola and soybean oils as well as from walnuts.
Incorporate foods Containing Potassium. Dietary potassium is known to help prevent high blood pressure. Researchers have found that it might help prevent stroke. The higher your blood potassium level, the lower your risk of stroke.
Good food sources of potassium include fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, poultry, and fish.
Please note that this article is not a comprehensive care plan for people who have already developed stroke. I am still in process of compilation of that very crucial piece and would bring it to you, my distinguished readers shortly. Thaank you
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