Strokes happen when blood flow to the brain is restricted or blocked, and it is usually due to a blood clot or broken blood vessel. Strokes are associated with circulatory system conditions, but one’s diet also has a huge effect on how likely one will get a stroke. Older folks, in particular, should avoid the following foods, which are foods that increase the likelihood of experiencing a stroke or foods that cause a stroke.
Smoked meats like bacon and ham can increase the risk of getting a stroke because these meats are full of sodium. High sodium levels lead to high blood pressure, one of the risk factors of stroke. Smoked meats also contain a preservative called nitrite, which hardens and narrows arteries. The ideal diet would exclude all smoked and processed meats. In the event this is not possible, make sure that your meat is grass-fed, organic, free of nitrates, and labeled as 100 percent beef.
In 2011, Columbia University conducted a study that showed that older folks who drank at least one diet soda drink a day had 60% more strokes. While researchers have not discovered the exact causation, it’s safer for older folks to reduce their consumption of diet sodas.
Red meat is full of saturated fat which can potentially raise cholesterol levels. Higher cholesterol causes higher blood pressure, narrowed blood vessels, and hence strokes. Instead, go for white meats like chicken, turkey, and fish, which are healthier options.
Although soups are usually healthy options, canned soups contain lots of sodium. A single can of chicken noodle soup can already exceed the recommended amount of sodium that older folks should consume in a single day. Make sure you check the labels and take note of the sodium levels if your older loved ones want to consume canned soups.
Snacks like cookies, chips, crackers, and cakes usually come with lots of trans fats. These are unhealthy fats, which can result in a cholesterol buildup that ends up clogging up arteries. Trans fats also cause high inflammation levels, something that’s linked to greater stroke risks.
Older folks who can’t cook or dislike cooking may turn to frozen meals as a convenient way to get their meals. However, these usually contain rather unhealthy ingredients.
Pre-made, frozen meals are typically packed with sodium – even the vegan options have high sodium levels. Read the labels and check the ingredients before using frozen meals as a quick and easy option for your older loved ones.
Stick to a moderate amount of red wine, which can be good for the heart. Higher intakes of alcohol can cause sharp increases in blood pressure – hence, older folks should keep their alcohol consumption below seven drinks a week, and keep under three drinks in a day.
Deep-fried dishes should be avoided – fried foods contain both saturated and trans fats, which can raise cholesterol levels and block arteries. Help your older loved ones start and maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle to reduce the odds of health issues.