Mediterranean Diet Reduces Stroke Risk

Mediterranean Diet Reduces Stroke Risk
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), nearly 800,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year, killing almost 130,000 men and women annually. Around 87% of all strokes are ischemic strokes. Ischemic strokes occur when a blood clot blocks blood flow to the brain. Think of a stroke as a brain attack, rather than a heart attack. Stroke is also a major cause of serious long-term disability for far too many Americans.

Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans appear to have a much greater risk of stroke than whites and Asians. Strokes are also much more common for women than for men. The risk of stroke for all people increases with age, especially after age 50.

Up until about the early 90s, stroke seemed to happen randomly and little was known about how to either prevent or treat the condition and a patient’s recovery often depended on nothing more than luck. Much has changed over the last twenty years. Stroke is now considered by most scientists to be both preventable and treatable

Stroke Prevention

A healthy lifestyle, particularly eating well and exercising on a regular basis, helps manage weight gain, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as help prevent heart disease and diabetes, which are all significant stroke risk factors. By being aware of your hereditary and genetic stroke risk, plus healthfully managing the stroke risk factors under your control, research has proven that your chances of disability or death from stroke can be kept lower than the risk for injury or death from accidental causes.

Previous studies have shown a Mediterranean diet can help reduce risk of heart disease, mental decline and death, but there hasn’t been until recently much research on how the Mediterranean eating plan affects risk of stroke. That has also changed.

A new unpublished Columbia University Medical Center study found people who mostly ate a Mediterranean style diet had a reduced risk of highly dangerous ischemic stroke when compared to people who ate less healthy diets.

What is a Mediterranean style diet?

A Mediterranean diet is comprised of mainly broiled fish, lean poultry, whole grain breads and cereals, beans, nuts, olive oil and an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. Highly saturated fatty foods such as red meat, butter and whole dairy products and high carbohydrate sweets are eaten on a very, very limited basis, if at all.

What else can you do to reduce the risk of stroke, besides eating a Mediterranean diet?

Eating a healthy diet along with regular exercise is the best place to start. These two steps will help you maintain a healthy weight, which is the third thing you need to do reduce the risk of stroke. Not smoking and limiting alcohol intake to less than two drinks a day are the final two steps.

The good news is the above five steps are also the very same steps you need to take to live a long, healthy life and help prevent a host of other debilitating and deadly diseases.

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Note: The information contained on this website is not intended to be prescriptive. Any attempt to diagnose or treat an illness should come under the direction of a physician who is familiar with nutritional therapy.

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