Stroke is a leading cause of mortality and long-term disability. The consequences of stroke are often devastating and irreversible. Life never remains same after a stroke. Prevention of stroke through modifiable risk factors, such as diet, is, therefore, crucial to public health. Diet may influence stroke development through multiple pathways and mechanisms. Blood pressure, blood lipids, thrombosis and coagulation, oxidative stress, systemic inflammation, endothelial function, glucose and insulin homeostasis, gut microbiome, and body weight are all dependent on our feeding habit.
Fruits & Vegetables
Fruit and vegetable consumption decreases the risk of both ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke. Those who take fruits daily in diet have less chance of suffering from stroke. Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of fiber, micronutrients (eg, vitamin C, folate, magnesium, and potassium), carotenoids, and phenolic compounds, which may act separately or synergistically to reduce the risk of stroke.
Nuts and Legumes
Nuts are rich in fiber, unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and phenolic compounds, which may produce cardiometabolic benefits. Several research articles state that those taking nuts and legumes in their daily diet have less chance of suffering from stroke.
Olive Oil and Monounsaturated Fat
Olive oil is rich in phenolic compounds and has a high proportion of monounsaturated fatty acids (primarily oleic acid). It has several protective role in stroke.
Cocoa is rich in flavanols (flavan-3-ols), which have antioxidant properties. Cocoa and chocolate consumption have beneficial effects on blood pressure, endothelial function, platelet aggregation, and insulin resistance.
Fish, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and Vitamin D
Fish consumption decreases risk of stroke. Besides omega-3 fatty acids, fatty fish is a source of vitamin D. High circulating vitamin D has been linked to a lower risk of stroke
Eggs and Protein
Dietary protein and certain amino acids, such as cysteine, which is found at high levels in eggs, might reduce blood pressure and have been associated with lower risk of ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke.
Coffee and Tea
coffee and tea consumption is associated with a reduced risk of stroke. Coffee and tea are major sources of caffeine and are rich sources of phenolic compounds. Moderate tea consumption has been shown to enhance endothelial-dependent vasodilation.
What is DASH Diet
DASH is a flexible and balanced eating plan that helps create a healthy eating style for life.
The DASH plan recommends:
- Eating vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
- Including fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and vegetable oils
- Limiting foods that are high in saturated fat, such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, and tropical oils.
- Limiting sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets.
Based on these recommendations, the following table shows examples of daily and weekly servings that meet DASH eating plan targets for a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet.
Diet modification is a big key to prevent stroke. Awareness is the primary necessity. Easy diet changes can decrease chance of stroke and several other cardiac diseases.
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Larsson SC. Dietary approaches for stroke prevention. Stroke. 2017 Oct;48(10):2905-11.
Sacks FM, Svetkey LP, Vollmer WM, Appel LJ, Bray GA, Harsha D, Obarzanek E, Conlin PR, Miller ER, Simons-Morton DG, Karanja N. Effects on blood pressure of reduced dietary sodium and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. New England journal of medicine. 2001 Jan 4;344(1):3-10.
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