9 Foods That Are Known to Reduce the Risk of Strokes

A stroke or heart attack is something most people associate with middle-aged men with pot bellies, but the reality is that it can affect anyone of any age seemingly without so much as a warning. Strokes can leave the patient with catastrophic results, from a severe injury to paralysis, or even death!

The best way to prepare yourself against such an attack is by making lifestyle and diet changes. While there are plenty of foods you should not be eating, such as too much red meat or foods high in trans fat, there are other foods which have been found to actually reduce the risk of strokes. Read on to find out what they are!

1. Chocolate

Starting the list off with something everyone loves – chocolate! It might seem like wishful thinking to say that chocolate can reduce the risk of strokes, but according to BBC, there is an actual study to back this claim.

The University of Aberdeen studied the eating habits of more than 20,000 people of middle-age and older. They found that those who ate “a small bar per day had an 11-percent lesser risk of cardiovascular disease and a 23-percent reduced risk of stroke.” It’s important to note that this refers to dark chocolate with minimum dairy and/or sugar, and not the kind you’d find in a Mars bar!

2. Citrus Fruits

This one is for the ladies! According to LiveScience.com, eating an orange or grapefruit can reduce the risk of stroke in women – specifically a type called ischaemic stroke, which occurs when the blood flow to the brain is blocked.

The stroke-preventing abilities of such citrus fruits are said to come from the flavonoids present in them. But not all foods with flavonoids are effective for this purpose. It is because oranges and grapefruit have a specific subcategory of flavonoids called flavanones that are responsible for preventing strokes.

3. Whole Grains

An article from Harvard Medical School notes that whole grain foods, thanks to their nature of being fiber-rich, have been associated with a reduced risk of strokes. It says that people who increased their dietary fiber intake by 7 grams daily had a reduced stroke risk of 7% – that’s about what you’d get from a bowl of whole grain pasta!

4. Peanuts

According to the National Peanut Board, eaing about five ounces of peanuts per week along with a healthy diet, can reduce your risk of strokes. They say that a “systematic review” of about 20 studies have concluded that eating peanuts daily can reduce the risk of not only strokes, but also coronary and cardiovascular diseases. This is perhaps due to their high fiber content, which helps lowering cholesterol, a major factor in the cause of strokes.

5. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a rich source of potassium, which could be the reason why they are great for lowering stroke risk. This is because according to a study that monitored women in the age group of 50-79 over a period of 11 years, it found that those with a higher dose of potassium in their daily diet had a 12% lower risk of having a stroke than those who had eaten very little potassium-rich foods. Potassium is important in controlling salt in the diet, which is a key player in spiking blood pressure.

6. Garlic

Garlic has been hailed for its medicinal properties since the ancient days, but did you know it can also reduce the risk of heart attacks? This is perhaps because several studies have concluded that it can be very effective in reducing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol as well as help in the thinning of blood, which would be useful in the case of someone with blood clots. Since these are major contributors of strokes, it can’t hurt to add more garlic to your food!

7. Tomatoes

Another study from Harvard Medical School says that tomatoes can reduce your risk of strokes. This is due to the high content of lycopene present in the fruit (as well as several other fruits and vegetables), an antioxidant that is also responsible for its bright red color. Research has found that men who had a higher amount of lycopene in their blood not only had a lower risk of cancer, but about 55% reduced chance of a stroke.

8. Fish

An article on EveryDayhealth.com mentions a study found that women over the age of 40 who followed the “Mediterranean diet”, a diet that would heavily feature fish, along with plenty of fruits, beans, vegetables, and nuts, had a reduced risk of thrombotic stroke.

Interestingly, this applies only to eating actual fish (and other seafood), and not just taking fish oil supplements. It also does not apply to men, as a recent study found that only a 6 percent drop in stroke risk was found in men with a similar diet.

9. Bananas

Go bananas, because these potassium-rich yellow parcels of goodness have been linked to reducing your risk of heart attacks. A study claims that people who had 9 servings of potassium-rich foods daily had a reduced stroke risk of 38% compared to those who ate only 4 servings of it.

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