10+ Foods That Prevent Strokes

Stroke takes 5 million lives every year, and it is one of the main causes of permanent disability.

Thankfully, this can be easily prevented with a change of lifestyle. Protect yourself by improving your diet and regularly eat these healthy food choices. 

What Is a Stroke?

You already know that a stroke or cerebrovascular accident (CVA) occurs when oxygen is cut off from a part of your brain because of a blockage in your blood vessels. The strokes are so common that one person in the U.S. has a CVA every half-minute, and one dies from CVA every four minutes. The usual cause of CVA is an unhealthy lifestyle. Our diet, for one thing, holds a significant influence on our risk of having a CVA. 

A well-balanced diet that focuses on unprocessed, whole, healthy food can aid CVA prevention. Medical professionals have consistently educated the public about the dangers of an unhealthy diet. High cholesterol and high blood pressure are some of the negative effects imparted by eating carb-heavy, high cholesterol foods. And these conditions will increase your chances of having a CVA.

Who Poses a Higher Risk of Having a Stroke?

If you have these medical conditions, you should take your time to look for preventative measures and apply them to your lifestyle:

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • High cholesterol

Seeking professional help from a dietician or doctor is one of the best courses of action to educate you on how to prevent strokes. For instance, your doctor might advise you to moderate your food intake and switch to healthy food options if you’re overweight. If you have high cholesterol, your dietician may recommend a fat-free diet to prevent strokes.

The Best Healthy Food Choices to Prevent Strokes

You might be asking yourself, “What is healthy food that aids stroke prevention?” Look no further, because we have compiled a list of foods, scientifically proven to provide beneficial effects. Have a look down below and try implementing these healthy food choices into your diet and prevent strokes naturally.

Greens

Harvard scholars have conducted a study concluding that greens offer substantial protection against most chronic diseases. And this includes the chances of strokes reduced by 20% for every serving. This study alone proves that greens are one of the best foods to prevent strokes.

Dark Chocolate

If you need another reason to adore chocolate, John Hopkins researchers have discovered the antioxidant found in chocolate, epicatechin. It helps protect our brain cells from incurring any damage. Another study has also found that people who regularly ate dark chocolate have lower CVA rates. While dark chocolate is considered a healthy food, try to eat in moderation. Even the darkest chocolate still has some fat in it. If you’re trying to tone down your figure, you can still enjoy chocolate in smaller portions.

Nuts

One study suggests that consuming one ounce of nuts daily will cut CVA risks in half. Nuts are very filling, and a little can go a long way. This is why most people who are looking to lose some weight have nuts as a part of their healthy food diet.

Citrus Fruits

Fruits and vegetables have always been associated with health and fitness. Citrus fruits specifically have been known to be one of the foods that lower cholesterol levels and stroke risks. The flavonoids in citrus fruits are the substances that offer benefits to our body when ingested.

Tomatoes

The lycopene-rich tomato is believed to significantly reduce CVAs, making them one of the best healthy food choices. One study published by Neurology shows that middle-aged men who have high lycopene levels have cut their chances of incurring a CVA by more than half. Eating tomatoes and other water-rich fruits is one of the best ways to prevent heatstroke and reduce your chances of developing heatstroke symptoms.

Whole Grains

Are you a fan of pastries and pasta? You might want to consider switching to their whole-grain, healthy food kind. Studies have found that regularly incorporating whole grains in your diet can reduce the chances of a stroke. Whole grains also have more fiber than their processed counterparts. Fiber is a healthy food component proven to aid digestion, and it doesn’t have any carbs, perfect for people who are watching their weight.

Coffee and Green Tea

Thirteen-year long research conducted in Japan found that individuals who drank a cup of coffee each day have a 20% reduced CVA risk. Another healthy food, 2 daily servings of green tea can reduce CVA chances by 14 %.

Garlic

Garlic is an excellent choice for CVA prevention. A study finds that consuming garlic regularly can reduce CVA chances by 50%. My kitchen advisor offers some delicious garlic-centered recipes so you can try to spice up your healthy food options.

Foods Rich in Magnesium

Magnesium-rich, healthy food is shown in numerous studies to provide CVA protection. Foods like greens, whole grains, and beans are filled with magnesium. It has also been known to improve nerve and muscle function, another good reason why you should be aware of your magnesium intake.

Foods Rich in Potassium

Eating potassium-rich, healthy food can lower CVA risks. One study found that 16g of potassium intake per day reduces the risk of CVA by 21%. Bananas are the best-known source of potassium, but beans, sweet potatoes, and greens are also good sources.

Probiotics

Probiotics help your digestive system remain healthy, and this provides a passive positive effect on your brain’s health as well. Load up on these probiotics — healthy food options, and reap their benefits:

  • Sauerkraut
  • Yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Tempeh
  • Kefir

If you’re watching your weight or have diabetes, try to buy unsweetened yogurt and enjoy them with fruits low in sugar such as blueberries or raspberries.

Oatmeal

Maintaining cholesterol at healthy levels is a good method of stroke prevention because the two are intrinsically linked with each other. If you’re looking for ways on how to lower cholesterol levels, the best way is to lower your intake of bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase the good cholesterol (HDL). You can also try these healthy food options that have been known to lower cholesterol levels:

  • Vegetables
  • Beans
  • Oatmeal
  • Fruits

Flaxseed

Did you know that fat comprises most of your brain? This is why we need so many fatty acids in our diet to have proper brain function, and omega-3s are rich with them. Here are a few healthy food sources that have brain-enhancing fatty acids:

  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Salmon
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Walnuts
  • Shrimp

Red Wine

Ever wondered why the French had been known to have long lifespans? It’s most likely their daily consumption of red wine! Resveratrol, a grape antioxidant, has been linked to the lowering of CVA chances.

If you’re not a fan of wine, don’t worry, because even snack on some red grapes can give you a good dose of beneficial resveratrol. Try not to consume too much wine, though. Drinking too much will reverse any benefits incurred and will often do more harm than good even if it’s considered a healthy food. Limit yourself to a glass of wine per day to keep the balance.

Salmon

Another healthy food option is salmon, owing to its high vitamin D reserves. Vitamin D offers a ton of beneficial effects such as neuromuscular, osteoprotective, and neuroprotective capabilities. This means that vitamin D is good for the bones, muscles, and brain. Anything that strengthens your brain is a good way of preventing a CVA. You can get a healthy dose of vitamin D by staying under the sun (during safe hours), or you can try these healthy food choices:

  • Egg yolks
  • Cheese
  • Salmon 

Onions 

You might need to grab some mouthwash after eating this healthy food. Onions are rich in flavonol, an antioxidant that lowers CVA risk by 20%! They are also low in calories and don’t have any fat, so you can enjoy this pungent vegetable as much as you want!

You might have intended to practice good oral hygiene, though. There’s nothing worse than talking to someone with onion breath! But bad breath is a price to pay for the countless benefit onions can provide; then it’s very much worth it.

Conclusion

The easiest way to reduce your risks of incurring a stroke is through a change in lifestyle, and what you eat plays a large role in this. Eat everything in moderation and choose healthy food options that provide benefits. A balanced diet of grains, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and the other food we’ve mentioned will go a long way in keeping you healthy.

Do you know any other superfoods with a ton of health benefits? Which are your favorites? Share them in the comments below with your fellow readers!

Written by

Rae-Rae is a food scientist and a mother of two. Her job mostly tasks her with improving the efficiency of food production, and she is attending university for a Ph.D. in chemistry to help her research. In her free time, Rae-Rae writes on her blog that focuses on the topics of health and wellness.

Latest comment
  • A number of the food categories that you tossed out are capable of raising your blood sugar to very high levels. Whole grains, oatmeal and many fruits are not safe for diabetics. I am not asking you to believe me. I am asking you to eat the food, then check your blood glucose level. Check 1 hour after eating, then 2 hours after eating. I think you will have the proof on your meter. While the country has become obese, you can believe the “food pyramid” or you can believe your meter.

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