Dietary changes can impact seniors both positively and negatively, making it important to focus on foods that will benefit the body. Some foods contain essential nutrients that can help reduce the chance of strokes. The stroke care experts at Bridgewater Home Care Assistance recommend your elderly loved one add some or all of these foods to his or her diet to help prevent strokes.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Dark leafy greens, such as kale, spinach, and collards, are high in magnesium, which has been linked to a reduced risk of stroke. This reduction is likely due to magnesium’s effect on several risk factors for stroke, such as hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and type-2 diabetes. One study found that for every 100 milligrams of magnesium consumed per day the risk of stroke dropped by 9 percent.
Studies have shown seniors with the highest levels of lycopene in the body were the least likely to have a stroke, as this antioxidant can reduce inflammation and cholesterol, help improve immune function, and prevent blood from clotting. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, with one cup of tomato juice containing 23 milligrams. Lycopene is one of just a few vitamins in fresh produce that actually increases, rather than diminishes, as it cooks, making low-sodium tomato soups and sauces a great way for your loved one to get the nutrient.
A Swedish study found that men who consumed one dark chocolate bar per week dropped their risk of stroke by one-sixth. Additional studies revealed those who ate the largest amounts of dark chocolate reduced their risk of stroke by 19 percent. Dark chocolate contains compounds called flavonoids, which can reduce cholesterol levels, decrease blood pressure, and improve artery function, all of which can help prevent strokes. Because chocolate does contain saturated fat, experts say chocolate should be consumed in moderation as a treat in an overall healthy diet.
Citrus fruits may be especially effective in helping women prevent strokes. Oranges, grapefruit, and lemons, contain high levels of antioxidants and flavonoids, which have anti-inflammatory effects and can help improve blood vessel function. Ischemic strokes, which occur when the blood flow to the brain is blocked, occur less in women who regularly consume citrus fruits and juices.
Low-fat milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese all contain high levels of vitamin D, which has been shown to lower the risk of stroke by as much as 12 percent. This vitamin can also lower blood pressure, which is what researchers believe reduces stroke risk.
A healthy diet is always encouraged, but no combination of foods is guaranteed to successfully ward off strokes. If your loved one has experienced a stroke, he or she may need help from a live-in or hourly caregiver. For information on trusted stroke care in Bridgewater, turn to Home Care Assistance. Our stroke care plans can be tailored to your loved one’s needs and include support in physical, occupational, and speech therapy, companionship and support through recovery, and assistance with a wide variety of daily tasks like grocery shopping and healthy meal preparation. To schedule your free in-home consultation, call one of our experienced Care Managers today at 908.450.9400.