Many people wonder if it’s possible to prevent stokes. Strokes are caused by damage to the inner walls of the arteries which transmit blood and oxygen from your heart, though your neck, and into the base of your brain. These arteries can become damaged in much the same manner as the arteries leading to your heart. The damage I am referring to is atherosclerosis, and this disease is the biggest killer in the world today.
When the arteries leading to your brain become damaged from plaque buildup and clots, the flow of blood can be interrupted, which causes partial or complete brain cell death.
Some interference of blood flow might be quite mild or temporary—this is referred to as a transient ischemic attack (TIA). More severe attacks can damage to important areas of your brain, causing loss of speech, motor coordination, sensory loss, visual loss, paralysis, and death.
Once you are having a stroke, it is definitely a medical emergency and you should call 911 immediately. However, you can reduce your risk of developing a stroke through nutritional means by eating these healthy foods.
4 Types of Foods to Prevent Stroke
1. Foods to Lower blood pressure
Lower blood pressure reduces the stress and resultant damage which can occur on the inside of the artery walls, leading to plaque formation. Lower blood pressure can greatly reduce your risk of a stroke.
Foods that are high in magnesium like whole grains, beans, peas, and leafy vegetables can lower blood pressure. These foods also contain a great deal of soluble fiber, which can lower blood pressure.
I recommend that you eat two to three servings of these foods on a daily basis.
2. Foods to Lower Cholesterol
Healthy foods which can lower your cholesterol contain good fats, which we should all eat regularly. These essential fats increase our “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and decrease the “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) effects upon our inner artery walls. These foods consist of oily fish (salmon, sardine, mackerel, herring), flaxseeds, extra virgin olive oil, avocado, raw nuts, and seeds.
I recommend consuming oily fish two to three times per week, and also consuming one to two servings of nuts, seeds, olive oil, or avocadoes daily to help lower cholesterol and decrease the risk of stroke.
3. Foods to Lower Inflammation
Increased levels of inflammation inside the artery can lead to more free radical production and blood clotting. Inflammation can lead to direct damage to the inner artery endothelium, which can trigger plaque formation.
Foods which are high in flavonoids, like dark vegetables and fruit, contain chemicals known as anthocyanins. Foods containing a high amount of anthocyanins include dark-colored berries, grapes, wine, and pomegranates.
These chemicals can directly decrease the amount of inflammation by decreasing the free radical production associated with inflammation, as well as by improving the function of the inner endothelial lining of the artery.
Improved endothelial function can greatly decrease the risk of stroke, much like it does with heart attacks, so make sure you’re eating healthy foods like those mentioned above to prevent a stroke.
4. Foods to Lower Blood Clotting
When the risk of blood clotting increases, so does the risk of developing a stroke. The increased tendency for blood clotting inside the artery can cause plaques and clot ruptures, which can lead to the loss of blood flow to the brain. There are two ways that this happens.
Firstly, the platelets in your bloodstream, which are there to help your blood clot, can get very sticky. When this occurs, the degree of platelet aggregation increases, which can cause clots to form in arteries. The second way is when a protein called fibrinogen is produced in greater amounts, and that encourages blood clotting inside your arteries.
There are a number of healthy foods that can decrease this blood clotting process. In particular, garlic is beneficial, because it acts on both platelets and fibrinogen.
Eat more raw garlic to decrease this tendency for clot formation in your arteries, which works by decreasing fibrinogen production and platelet aggregation.
That’s one of the reasons I consider garlic to be a miracle food! To reap the most benefits, eat whole garlic, roast it, and add it your food as a condiment. I recommend that you eat one to two cloves of fresh garlic per day in your food. Eating more of this ancient herb will lower your risk of stroke and prolong your life!
To prevent a stroke, there are many healthy foods you need to include in your diet. I’ve mentioned a few here that will help you lower your blood pressure, lower your cholesterol, and decrease inflammation—all vital to prevent a stroke. Make sure you’re eating healthy foods like garlic, dark green veggies, nuts, and olive oil to get all the health benefits.
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Allison, G.L., et al., “Aged garlic extract inhibits platelet activation by increasing intracellular cAMP and reducing the interaction of GPIIb/IIIa receptor with fibrinogen,” Life Sci. December 17, 2012; 91(25-26): 1275-80.
Chan, J.Y., et al., “A review of the cardiovascular benefits and antioxidant properties of allicin,” Phytother Res. May 2013; 27(5): 637-46.