You Are What You Eat
Episode #8 of the course Stroke prevention: Living longer and better by Marselina Arshakyan
Hi there. Here we are again, about diet and healthy eating. It’s because it’s crucial for mankind’s well-being. It allows us to stay healthy, look better, and feel better!
For stroke prevention, a healthy diet is important via two rules: how much you eat and what you eat.
Dietary guidelines for stroke prevention recommend limiting the intake of fat, sugar, and salt, all of which can boost our risk of stroke through multiple overlapping factors such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
In terms of what to eat, it’s recommended to follow a healthy dietary pattern higher in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat or nonfat dairy, seafood, legumes, and nuts; moderate in alcohol (among adults); lower in red and processed meat; and low in sugar-sweetened foods and drinks and refined grains.
Let’s have a closer look.
Vegetables and fruits. Increasing intake of fruits and vegetables has been found to be protective, which resulted in reduced risk of stroke in the highest consumers of fruits and vegetables compared to the lowest consumers by 21%. The protective relationship seems to be slightly stronger with fruit than with vegetable consumption.
Whole grains. Whole grains are rich in good carbohydrates. Remember, carbohydrates are the primary source of energy for our bodies, and their adequate consumption is vital, particularly for the brain, which can use only glucose as an energy source.
Diets containing whole grain products have been associated with reduced risk due to the high content of fiber. You can fiber up through higher consumption of cereals, beans, peas and vegetables, fruits, and nuts as well.
However, higher starch with low fiber consumption, as well as greater intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, is correlated with increased risk.
Meat. Studies showed that total red meat consumption, including both fresh and processed red meat, was correlated with increased stroke risk. For every additional meat serving (100 g) consumed per day, there was a 24% increased risk of stroke.
Animal fat vs. vegetable oil. Animal fats are mostly saturated fat, and vegetable oils are not. While the former is associated with increased risk, giving preference to non-saturated fats can lead to multiple health benefits. Consider more frequent consumption of olive oil, fish and seafood.
Chocolate and coffee. Regular consumption of both chocolate and coffee has protective benefits with regards to stroke, but more among women than men. A very recent Japanese study showed a remarkably lower risk of stroke in women who eat chocolate regularly, but in men, the association was not significant.
Higher coffee consumption in relation to stroke risk has been conflicting, as caffeine can increase blood pressure. However, findings from a Korean study also suggested a lower risk of stroke, particularly in middle-aged women.
Good news for chocolate and coffee lovers. Just make sure to not overdo!
Poor environmental conditions and stroke
It’s also important to make sure to breathe clean air. Yes, poor air quality is a surprising risk factor for stroke, and both household and environmental air pollution can significantly raise your risk.
Reduce your household contaminant exposure through smarter choices of personal care and cleaning substances.
Tomorrow, we’re going to focus on the importance of controlling blood sugar and cholesterol for stroke prevention and why people of some ethnic groups have a much higher risk of stroke than other ethnicities.
Have a nice day!
How to grow cleaner indoor air
How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease by M.D. Michael Greger MD, Gene Stone
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