A stroke develops once the flow of blood to the brain is disrupted or reduced due to clogged blood vessels. This can lead to diminished supply of essential nutrients and oxygen to the brain and can result to sudden death of the brain cells.
The potential risk factors for stroke include age, family history, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol level, alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, diet and physical inactivity. Always bear in mind that the diet is a risk factor that can be managed. A well-balanced diet and avoiding certain foods can reduce the risk for a stroke.
Symptoms of stroke
- Numbness on one side of the body
- Balance loss
Usual triggers for stroke
The consumption of alcohol can result to several health problems including stroke. Alcohol does not have any nutritional value and only provides the body with excess calories.
Alcohol can also increase the blood pressure and impair the blood clotting mechanism. Heavy consumption of alcohol increases the risk for a stroke. Men should not consume more than 2 drinks in a day while women should not have more than 1 drink in a day.
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a main risk factor for stroke and excess sodium or salt in the diet causes it. Take note that table salt is a chief source of dietary sodium in the diet of most individuals but there are various foods that have hidden sources of salt such as the following:
- Packaged snacks
- Processed meats
- Frozen entrees
- Baked products
- Fried foods
- Canned soups
Certain foods that have listed ingredients such as monosodium glutamate, sodium phosphate and sodium nitrate contain hidden sources of salt. One way to reduce the risk is to opt for fresh, homemade foods that have limited salt if possible.
Trans fat are produced from hydrogenated ions that react with oil. These are artificial fats generated to lengthen the shelf lift. Foods that are made out of trans fat include the following:
- Partially hydrogenated oil
- Potato chips
- Stick butter
- Commercially baked products such as donuts
- Fried foods such as French fries
Always bear in mind that these foods are usually packed with saturated fat and cholesterol. The fat increases the bad cholesterol and reduces the good cholesterol which results to the accumulation of cholesterol in the arteries. Remember that this constriction or narrowing can result to a stroke.
The consumption of snack items such as crackers, chips, packaged and processed goods, fruit juices and drink mixes, sugary beverages such as soft drinks, sweetened tea and products made out of white flour including bread rice, pasta and refined grains can increase the level of blood sugar in the body. As a result, the level of triglyceride increases.
Additionally, the consumption of these unhealthy food items on a regular basis can add on pounds and increases the risk for other conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke. It is vital to stick with fresh foods and limit any additional sugar.
There are dairy products such as processed cheese, whole milk, ice cream and even some variants of yogurt that can provide unwanted dietary salt, fat and cholesterol. The excess calories, fat and cholesterol can result to weight gain and eventually stroke.
It is recommended to stick with low-fat or non-fat varieties. In addition, the individual should choose plain yogurt without any added fruit or other sugar sources.
Processed bacon, lunch meats, hot dogs, sausage, red meat and eggs are packed with sodium, saturated fat and cholesterol. The consumption of these foods too often can increase the level of cholesterol and blood pressure as well as add up additional fat in the diet.
Take note that red meat contains toxic chemicals and substances that are released once cooked. These factors can increase the risk for developing a stroke. Suitable food choices include lean cuts of chicken, meat or fish. Cooking methods such as broiling, baking and grilling are recommended than frying.