Foods that benefit stroke survivors and will help you prevent a stroke
Lifestyle factors are associated with increasing the risk of stroke, this includes lack of exercise, high alcohol intake, diet, obesity, smoking, drug use, and stress. The CDC and the National Institutes of Health recommend at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week. But, besides changing lifestyle, what type of foods will help you prevent a stroke?
To prevent a stroke, you need to boost your intake of phytochemicals, which are plant chemicals that have protective or disease preventive properties. A high dietary intake of phytochemicals with vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, and whole grain is associated with a reduced risk for cardiovascular and other diseases. But not only that, foods rich in phytochemicals are promoted as cancer fighter foods.
There are several groups of health-promoting phytochemicals, but according to Harvard’s School of Public Health, the best source of phytochemicals that will help you prevent a stroke, are found in fruits and vegetables, which are naturally rich in: flavonoids, antioxidants, carotenoids and sulfides ( types of phytochemicals).
Flavonoids have been scientifically proven to be Inversely associated with risk of Incident Ischemic Stroke. Meaning, the more flavonoids you consume, the less chances you have of having a stroke. Some foods rich in flavoinoids include: romaine lettuce, blueberries, celery,Tomatoes, peaches, apples, garbanzo beans, pears, oranges, almonds, strawberries, watermelon.
A cohort study on dietary habits that included 34 555 men and women from Sweden, found that dietary antioxidant capacity from different foods and beverages is inversely associated with risk for stroke, more specifically ischemic stroke, in women.
The antioxidant activity of phytochemicals, acts as a mechanism for neuro - regeneration by reducing or reversing cellular damage and by slowing progression of neuronal cell loss, which is what happens after a stroke.
Some foods with antioxidant capacities include: beets, celery, tomatoes, brocolli, cramberries, blueberries, kidney beans, dark chocolate, mangoes, kale, strawberries, black and green tea.
Researchers from Harvard School of Public Health have established that higher plasma levels of carotenoids can minimize the risk of having a stroke. Some of the foods rich in carotenoids are: carrots, yams, cantaloupe, squash, apricots,avocados, bok choy and kale.
Accumulating evidences indicate that Hydrogen sulfide(H2S) plays an important role in stroke. Given that its neuroprotective effect is dose-dependent, only when its concentration is relatively low, H2S can yield the neuroprotection, while high dose may lead to neurotoxicity. Some of the foods rich in sulfide are: eggs, , onions, beans, broccoli, cauliflower and garlic, which has been reported to relax arteries and protect people from developing cardiovascular disease, and also Influence blood flow in stroke patients.
If you already had a stroke and want to recover faster, aerobic exercise has been proven to improve cognition and motor function of stroke survivors. But, if you are looking for a lifestyle change in order to prevent a stroke: reducing alcohol consumption, along with boosting your dietary phytochemical intake will help. Other reported benefits of consuming phytochemicals are that they may aid in weight loss, and also may protect women at risk for breast cancer.