Stroke: Older people should cut back on certain popular food

Advert warns to act FAST when you see signs of a stroke

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Strokes are a medical emergency that occur when blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. In the case of an ischaemic stroke, this happens due to a blood clot. While in haemorrhagic strokes, a weakened blood vessel to the brain has burst.

As with many medical conditions, what you eat can have an impact on your likelihood of having a stroke.

One expert spoke with about certain foods to avoid.

Consultant neurologist at The Wellington Hospital stroke rehabilitation centre in London, Doctor Bal Athwal, advised against eating red meat – especially if you are older.

He explained: ”Eating steaks, sausages, and other red meats high in saturated fat increase your risk of stroke.

“An elderly person who eats red meat is more likely to have an ischemic stroke because saturated fat causes blockages in blood vessels that supply blood to the brain.

“An ischemic stroke is the most common type of stroke.

“These blood clots typically form in areas where the arteries have been narrowed or blocked over time by fatty deposits known as plaques.

“To prevent this, you should eat fewer red meats and more fatty fish and lean meats instead.”

He suggested other ways to get protein into the diet. “Poultry, most fish and meatless alternatives such as tofu, beans and legumes are the healthiest source of proteins to help reduce your risk,” he said.

This was backed by a study carried out by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Cleveland Clinic.

The paper, which was published in the Stroke Online journal in 2011, found that men who ate more than two red meat servings every day had a 28 percent higher stroke risk than those who ate about one third of a serving each day.

And it showed that people who ate the highest amounts of chicken or turkey each day had a 13 percent reduced stroke risk compared to those who ate one serving of red meat.

The team also discovered that swapping in other proteins, such as nuts or fish, instead of one daily serving of red meat reduced stroke risk.

Other factors that raise your risk of a stroke include:

  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Eating unhealthy foods
  • Family history of stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • High cholesterol.

Stroke symptoms

The main symptoms of stroke can be remembered with the word FAST.

Face – The face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have dropped.

Arms – The person with suspected stroke may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in one arm.

Speech – Their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake; they may also have problems understanding what you’re saying to them.

Time – It’s time to dial 999 immediately if you see any of these signs or symptoms.

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