Advert warns to act FAST when you see signs of a stroke
Strokes are serious, potentially life-threatening medical incidents.
They occur when blood flow to the brain is cut off – usually due to a blood clot or a blood vessel bursting.
There are a number of factors that can raise your risk for stroke, with diet being one of them.
With this in mind Doctor Jonathan Zeilinger, digital GP lead at Babylon, spoke with Express.co.uk about foods to avoid if you are at risk for a stroke.
He specifically advised against eating four foods, to prevent your arteries becoming blocked.
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- Processed meat
- Fried food.
He explained: “As the majority of strokes are related to the build-up of a fatty plaque (atheroma) in the arteries supplying your brain, foods that contribute to this will increase your risk.
“Saturated and trans fats are key culprits and include foods such as processed meats (such as sausages and burgers), butter, biscuits, and fried foods, to name a few.”
However, there are other foods that could also raise your risk.
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“Raised blood pressure also causes the formation of atheromas, and therefore a high salt intake (such as found in crisps and bacon) will add to your risk,” he said.
“High sugar intake (e.g. fizzy drinks) is another key factor in stroke risk, partly by its association with weight gain and type 2 diabetes which causes damage and inflammation to arteries.”
Some foods can have the opposite effect and reduce your likelihood of a stroke.
Dr Zeilinger said: “It has been repeated many times, but you should aim to eat at least five (ideally seven to nine) portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
“Multiple studies have shown a higher consumption leads to reduced rates of stroke and the opposite with lower intakes.
“They are believed to lower blood pressure and contain antioxidants which help protect the arteries.
“Fruit and vegetables also contain fibre, which can help prevent high fat levels by binding to cholesterol in our gut.
“The recommended fibre intake is 30 grams a day, and it can also be found in oats, brown rice, and wholegrain bread.
“Some fats are good for you in small portions and can actually reduce your risk of stroke by potentially reducing your cholesterol levels.
“These are namely mono- and poly-unsaturated fats and can be found in nuts, seeds, as well as oily fish, of which two portions a week is recommended.”
Signs of a stroke
Stroke symptoms can be remembered with the acronym 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.
If you think someone is experiencing a stroke you should call 999 immediately.
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