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Friday, August 30, 2013

Some foods can trigger a stroke... and here are some things that you can do to lower your chance of having a stroke

A poor diet can contribute to having a stroke. People who eat diets that are high in saturated fat are especially susceptible, saturated fat can cause a build-up of fatty plaques in your arteries. It also increases cholesterol levels and leads to high blood pressure and obesity. A low fat, low sodium, high fiber diet is recommended, as well as eating lots of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole-grains. A balanced diet also includes a small amount of unsaturated fat which will help to reduce your cholesterol, so it's a good idea to include oily fish, avocados, nuts and seeds, as well as sunflower, olive and canola oils in your diet.

As always you should quit smoking, drink in moderation and get exercise. Smoking doubles your risk of having a stroke because it narrows the arteries and makes your blood more likely to clot. Excessive drinking can lead to high blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat. Men should drink no more than 2 drinks a day and women no more than 1 drink a day. Exercise helps you to keep your weight lower, lowers your blood pressure and also helps to lower your cholesterol levels. Try to get at least 20-30 minutes of moderately aerobic exercise a day.

Because of trans-fats, crackers, chips, store bought pastries and baked goods block arteries, upping concentrations of lipids and cholesterol, raising your risk of having a stroke by 30%. Limit trans-fats to no more than 1-2 g per day, as always read labels on processed foods.

Smoked and processed meats can contribute to strokes because of the high sodium content which contributes to high blood pressure, also the preservatives sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite cause arteries to harden, narrow and become brittle. Smoked meats may also lead to diabetes and cancer. Eating just one serving of processed meats a day can increase your risk of getting coronary artery disease by 42%. Try eating tuna fish, peanut butter or slicing homemade roasts and chicken.

Scientists don't know why yet, but people that drink a single diet soda a day are 48% more at risk of having a stroke. Regular diet soda drinkers have a 60% higher chance of having a stroke, heart attack or coronary artery disease, so substitute more water or iced tea.

Because red meat is so high in saturated fat, people that consume too much have a 42% higher risk of having a stroke. Red meat clogs arteries with protein plaques and the high iron content may pose a specific risk to have a stroke. Eat more white meat and fish, don't forget to try Meatless Mondays – or perhaps try even two to three days a week to get your protein from plants!

Eating canned soups and processed foods also raise your risk of having a stroke because of the very high amount of sodium in canned soups and processed foods – even those that sound healthy. Beware of other ingredients besides salt that are actually loaded in sodium such as, baking soda, baking powder, MSG, disodium phosphate and sodium alginate. People eating 4,000 mg of sodium a day double their risk of having a stroke from those eating 2,000 mg a day or less. Make your own soups or buy low-sodium soups and read labels!

So remember as Michael Pollan said in his book, In Defense of Food, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” and “Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.” Do as Ben Franklin said and “Eat to live, don't live to eat”, base your diet on whole, natural, foods not processed, packaged garbage that pretends to be food.
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1 comment:

  1. I feel guilty when I splurge and eat a little bacon on "holidays" but that doesn't mean I should slip back into every day stuff...If one does look around, it is sometimes possible to find organic bacons that don't have nitrate or nitrite...usually the salt is still there, tho. Very informative article this time, Sean. I hope it encourages folks to take one step closer to health.