Harvard researchers suggest that our food consumption does indeed influence our risk of suffering a stroke. This matters since stroke is the third leading cause of death in the U.S.
Scientists looked carefully at 121 different studies—published between 1979 and 2004—on the relationship between dietary factors and stroke. High blood pressure is a major modifiable risk factor for stroke, so it also was considered. Dietary factors included fats, minerals, animal protein, cholesterol, fish, whole grains, fiber, carbohydrate quality, fruits and vegetables, antioxidants, B vitamins, and dietary patterns.
I quote their conclusions:
Diets low in sodium and high in potassium lower blood pressure which will likely reduce stroke risk.
Consumption of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, folate, and fatty fish are each likely to reduce stroke risk.
A prudent or traditional Mediterranean dietary pattern, which incorporates these individual dietary components as well as intake of legumes and olive oil, may also prevent stroke.
Evidence is limited or inconsistent regarding optimal levels of dietary magnesium, calcium, antioxidants, total fat, other fat subtypes, cholesterol, carbohydrate quality, or animal protein for stroke prevention.
A diet low in sodium, high in potassium, and rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, cereal fiber, and fatty fish will likely reduce the incidence of stroke.
Take Home Points
The article abstract does not address the optimal intake amount of these various foods, vitamins, and minerals. That’s probably not known with any certainty.
The traditional Mediterranean diet incorporates many of these stroke-preventing foods. The Advanced Mediterranean Diet helps people lose weight while teaching how to eat Mediterranean-style.
The very low-carb Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet includes these stroke-preventing foods and minerals, except for whole grains and a tendency to be low in potassium. The KMD is high in total fat and animal protien, and potentially high in cholesterol; this study indicates those issues are nothing to worry about in terms of future strokes.
I’ll use articles such as this to recommend long-term food consumption for followers of any future Diabetic Mediterranean Diet.
Steve Parker, M.D.
Reference: Ding, E.L, and Mozaffarian, D. Optimal dietary habits for the prevention of stroke. Seminars in Neurology, 26 (2006): 11-23.