The foods that help prevent your risk for stroke


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Dr. Jeff Harp discussed the so-called Anti-Stroke Diet Tuesday during News 8 at Sunrise.

How prevalent is a stroke?

Each year, one out of 250 people over the age of 25 has a stroke. For each of us, there is a 1-in-4 chance over our lifetime that we will have a stroke.

What are the risk factors for stroke?

The major risk factors are smoking, overweight, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. All of these except smoking are modifiable through diet changes.

What diet changes are helpful?

Two studies published recently added to our knowledge about diet and stroke.

One study looked at associations between stroke and the type of fat we eat. Part of the study compared a diet high in vegetable fat and polyunsaturated fat with diets low in those fats. People with a high intake of vegetables with polyunsaturated fat had a 12% stroke risk reduction compared with people who ate a high amount of those fats. Polyunsaturated fats are in corn, soybean, sunflower, flax, and olive oil, fatty fish like salmon and albacore tuna, and walnuts. That study also compared diets high in nondairy animal fat and red meat with diets low in those foods. The risk of stroke was 16% higher in people whose diets had high amounts of animal fat and red meat when compared with people whose diets were low in those foods.

And the other study?

That study looked at coffee and tea consumption. Those drinking 2-3 cups of coffee, 3-5 cups of tea, or 4-6 cups combined had a 32% lower stroke risk than those who consumed less.

So, how do we begin to make diet changes?

We can reduce or remove lard, tallow, and red meat — especially fatty meat — from our diets, substituting plant-based polyunsaturated oils.

Which of the many diets out there gives guidance for this type of change?

The best guidance for these changes is found in the Mediterranean, Flexitarian, Ornish, and DASH diets, all readily accessible on the internet. I suggest choosing one and trying a few recipes. And have a cup of coffee or tea while doing your research!

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