Information for Patients:
Nutrition and Diet for Stroke Prevention
Certain factors that affect your likelihood to experience a stroke, such as your age, genetics, and race, cannot be changed. However, controlling your diet and changing some of your lifestyle habits can reduce your risk. A healthy diet for stroke prevention will help to avoid, or better control, diabetes, high cholesterol, weight, and hypertension, all of which directly impact your chances of experiencing a stroke. Being aware of what you eat is even more important when you’ve already experienced a stroke, as your risk of future strokes is higher.
To reduce your risk of experiencing a stroke, here are some tips for building a diet for stroke prevention:
- Reduce your portion sizes: Smaller portion sizes, regardless of what you eat, are the most convenient way to start improving your diet. You do not have to make any extra effort to cook new foods or get your taste buds used to new flavors.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables: A variety of fruits and non-starchy vegetables are excellent sources of fibers, minerals, and vitamins. Try to use low-calorie and low-salt sauces.
- Reduce salt, sugar, and fat: Choose skin-less poultry and extra-lean meat.
- Be fat-conscious: Saturated fat is bad and unsaturated fat is good. Animal products, such as full-fat dairy as in cakes and cookies and fatty meat, are sources of “bad” fat. On the other hand, “good” fat is found in non-tropical vegetables (such as corn, canola, and olive), avocados, fish, seeds, and nuts.
- Diversify your sources of protein: Eat fish at least twice a week, especially high sources of omega-3 fatty acid, such as albacore tuna, lake trout, sardines, herring, and salmon. Add legumes, seeds, and nuts to your meal.
- Use healthier methods of cooking: Try using less oil or steaming and roasting instead of frying.
Read the Cookbook for Stroke Survivors by American Stroke Association for delicious and healthy recipes!