from Green Med Info:
Five million people die from stroke every year. Those deaths can be cruel and lingering. These 9 foods can help keep you safe.
Worldwide five million people die from stroke every year accounting for about 10 percent of total deaths.[i] But those deaths can be cruel and lingering. In just moments, you can go from happy, active, and productive to the helpless prisoner of a useless body.
Ischemic stroke occurs as a result of a blockage within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain. It accounts for 87 percent of all stroke cases. Hemorrhagic stroke is usually caused by uncontrolled high blood pressure. It occurs when a weakened blood vessel ruptures.
Research shows that following a Mediterranean-type diet can be a first step to prevent stroke. In a recent 10-year Swedish study of 32,921 women published in the journal Atherosclerosis, researchers found that a modified Mediterranean diet cut the risk of ischemic stroke by more than 22 percent.
The diet was high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, whole grains, fermented dairy products, fish, and monounsaturated fats. It also included moderate amounts of alcohol and low consumption of red meat.
Here are 9 healthy foods you can start eating right now to help cut your risk of a deadly stroke.
An expert panel convened by The Harvard Center for Risk Analysis conducted a literature review to determine a dose-response relationship between fish consumption and stroke risk. They concluded that eating any fish at all lowered stroke risk by 12 percent compared to eating none. And they estimated that stroke risk dropped an additional 2 percent with each additional serving of fish per week.
A later study by Harvard researchers examined data from 43,671 men from The Health Professional Follow-up Study, a US prospective cohort study with 12 years of follow-up. It found that compared to men who ate fish less than once per month, those who ate fish one to three times per month had a 43 percent lower risk of ischemic stroke. But eating fish five or more times per week was not associated with any further risk reduction.
The same is true for women. The Nurses’ Health Study followed 79,839 women for 14 years. It found that compared to women who ate fish less than once per month those who ate fish five times a week reduced their ischemic stroke risk by 52 percent. Eating fish two to four times per week reduced risk by 27 percent, and eating it once a week lowered risk by 22 percent.
But choose your fish wisely. Yet another Harvard study found that eating tuna or other broiled or baked fish one to four times per week reduced ischemic stroke risk by 27 percent compared to eating it once a month. But people who ate fried fish or fish sandwiches more than once a week had a 44 percent higher ischemic stroke compared to those who only ate those types of fish less than once per month.
2. Pumpkin Seeds
A meta-analysis of eight studies covering 304,551 participants found those with the highest magnesium intake had a 12 percent lower risk of ischemic stroke and an 11 percent lower risk of total stroke compared to the lowest intake.
And a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition linked magnesium to lower rates of stroke in women. Harvard researchers examined data from 86,149 women in the Nurses’ Health Study I and 94,715 women in the Nurses’ Health Study II. In up to 30 years of follow-up they found that women getting the most magnesium had a 13 percent lower risk of total stroke compared to women getting the least. They also found that for each additional 100 mg. of magnesium woman consumed every day, risk dropped 13 percent.
Results are similar for men. Harvard researchers examined data from 42,669 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. During 24 years of follow-up they found that men who got the most magnesium from food reduced their total stroke risk by 13 percent compared to those getting the least. Those getting their magnesium from supplements reduced their total stroke risk by 26 percent. And those getting a mix of dietary magnesium and supplements reduce their risk by 17 percent.
Another recent study in the International Journal of Cardiology found that magnesium lowers blood pressure as well as total stroke risk. In a cohort study from the EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer)-Norfolk cohort, men with the highest magnesium intake significantly reduced their systolic blood pressure by 7 mmHg and their diastolic pressure by 3.8 mmHg.
Spinach, Swiss chard, and beet greens are excellent sources of magnesium. Pumpkin seeds are also a very good source.
3. Fruits and Vegetables
Not surprisingly, fruits and vegetables help prevent stroke. In a recent prospective Swedish study of 74,961 people over 10 years, those eating the most fruits and vegetables had a 13 percent lower risk of total stroke compared to those eating the least. Specific fruits and vegetables that stood out included apples, pears, and leafy greens.
Daily fruit intake was linked with a 35% reduction in risk of total stroke in men and a 25% reduction in women. Fruit was equally strong for both ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke.