Did you know that stroke is the number three cause of death in women and that stroke kills more women than men? Stroke awareness really is a women’s health issue. Here are several additional facts that highlight why increasing stroke risk knowledge is so important for everyone:
17 million strokes occur worldwide each year.
High blood pressure is the leading preventable cause of stroke and why managing your blood pressure makes a difference.
80 percent of strokes are preventable with lifestyle modifications such as reducing tobacco use and modifying eating patterns
To help you decrease your risk of having a stroke, let me highlight three healthy eating tips you can begin incorporating today.
Tip # 1 – Eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors each day can reduce stroke risk by up to 30%. That’s because fruits and vegetables are naturally rich in potassium. Potassium works antagonistically with sodium to lower sodium's impact on blood pressure as well as help to ease tension in the blood vessel walls.
Fresh fruits like apples, plums, apricots, and berries and fresh vegetables such as raw carrot sticks, broccoli, cucumbers, and red bell pepper make great snack options. Dip them in natural nut butter or hummus or include a handful of unsalted nuts to round out your snack selection.
Select vegetables such as dark green leafy vegetables, aubergines, green beans, and asparagus as half your lunch or dinner meal and then fruits such as unsweetened applesauce, berries, or a few dates as your after-meal dessert.
Fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables have very similar nutrient and fiber content with minimal added sugar or salt, so select them as much as possible.
When canned fruits are necessary, select those that are packed in their own juice or rinse those canned in syrup in cold water to reduce the sugar content that can negatively influence blood sugar. When selecting canned vegetables, be sure to rinse them in cold water before use to reduce the sodium content that can negatively influence blood pressure.
Tip # 2 – Make nutrient-rich grain choices at each meal. Some meta-analysis studies have found that higher whole grain intake has a protective effect against stroke. Select 100% corn tortillas, 100% whole-grain bread and cereals, black beans, brown rice, lentils, oats, barley, quinoa, and sweet potatoes which all provide great sources of fiber that can help lower cholesterol, keep blood sugar levels stable, and help you manage your weight.
Get adventurous and try alternative grains such as buckwheat, corn, and millet for baked goods instead of wheat. Really want to take your whole grain bread consumption up a notch? Select sprouted whole grain bread which is even more nutrient-rich.
Tip # 3 – Include nutrient-rich sources of proteins at each meal and snack. Studies have found that rotating protein intake can lower stroke risk by up to 27%. Consuming a diet higher in fish has also been associated with a lower risk of stroke, especially in men.
Select a different protein at each meal to make rotating proteins a snap. Unsalted nuts and seeds, salmon or cod, grass-fed beef, eggs and egg whites, skinless chicken breast, pork, hummus, and natural nut butter are all nutrient-rich options. Remember that baking, broiling, grilling, and roasting meat and seafood is the healthiest because these cooking styles limit added fats. Be sure to use avocado or olive oil when adding fat is necessary.
So, there you have it, three healthy eating tips to help you reduce your risk of stroke. Having a healthy relationship with food is your path to food and body freedom and health transformation. If you find you have food triggers that are limiting your ability to eat for health, let me help you find the path to freedom.