Stroke & Diet Part 1

A good friend suggested to me to share on Diet for stroke survivors a week or two ago. It was a great suggestion, for stroke survivors to prevent a recurrence, he or she need to have a healthy diet to bring down Blood Pressure, Cholesterol and Sugar Levels which in the first place, because of a poor diet, that one gets all these to unhealthy levels which lead to a stroke. Diet is never a stand alone thing but must be balanced with adequate exercises. Diet and Exercise is a rather broad subject and to cover as many aspects of these two requires a very lengthy post. Perhaps it will be easier reading if I break it down to several posts with this for introduction.

Poor diet and lack of exercise contribute to stroke and other cardiovascular diseases in the following ways:

  • Diet affects Dietary Cholesterol, which has a major impact on Atherosclerosis. High Cholesterol dramatically increases the risk of all cardiovascular diseases, including Ischemic Stroke.
  • Diet affects blood pressure.
  • Diet impacts diabetes which dramatically increases the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease.
  • Diet contributes to overweight and obesity which in turn increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The diet of a stroke survivor necessarily take into consideration the following:-

Control Cholesterol:

Cholesterol is present in the cell wall of every cell in animal and human bodies. The amount of cholesterol determines how permeable (leaky) the cell is. Cholesterol is so important to our basic biology that our bodies manufacture all the cholesterol they need from saturated fat. Dietary Cholesterol is extra.

Cholesterol manufacture is under genetic control and it is possible that diet and exercise won’t be enough to lower the level. The use of cholesterol lowering medication may be called for. Older cholesterol drugs work to block absorption of dietary cholesterol. A new type of drug addresses the manufacture of cholesterol in the liver.

Tropical oils (palm and coconut) and partially hydrogenated oils contribute to cholesterol levels. Hydrogenated oil is vegetable oil with hydrogen whipped into it, generally to increased shelf life. Nutritionists now label these oils as “trans-fat.” It is suspected that trans-fats also contribute to atherosclerosis a disease in which cholesterol deposits form on the walls of arteries, narrowing them.

Control Blood Pressure :-

Diet affects blood pressure because it affects weight, sodium and atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis increases blood pressure by narrowing arteries from the inside. Sodium causes water retention because our kidneys need water to maintain a proper electrolyte balance. This retained water puts pressure on the blood vessels and keeps them from relaxing, thereby increasing blood pressure.

One good diet formulated by nutritionists is the DASH Diet (Dietary Approach To Stop Hypertension) which is low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and total fat. It emphasizes fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy foods and includes whole-grain products, fish, poultry and nuts. It is reduced in red meat, sweets and sugar-containing beverages, as well as rich in magnesium, potassium and calcium, protein and fiber. Research has reported reductions in blood pressure in as little as two weeks after beginning the DASH diet.

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About bokjae

A retiree and full-time home care-giver to my wife a stroke survivor. A graduate in Electrical & Electronics Engineering, working as Project Manager; and was in Senior Management (Executive Director) with a local Telecommunications Company for 22 years till retirement. Upon retirement I was attached to a Church serving as full-time lay leader, lay counsellor as well as in social or community work such as old folks home, drug rehab, orphanage.

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