Stroke is the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of adult disability. Each year, about 800,000 Americans have a stroke, and about 140,000 die as a result. Strokes are different in every person. Some strokes are mild, and the person recovers quickly. Others can be severe, disabling, or even fatal.
Stroke risk is associated with several factors, including high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity. One factor that’s often overlooked is that stroke risk has been linked to diet. Diet plays a crucial role. Many of the foods we eat every day might be linked to stroke.
It’s true that healthy fats, such as those found in avocado, salmon, nuts, and olive oil, are vital for good health. They’re also key to a healthy cardiovascular system because they help control blood pressure and reduce inflammation, which is important for keeping your arteries open.
But eating too many fats, especially saturated fats and trans fats, can really put a damper on your ticker. Saturated fats, the type of fat found in butter and red meat, are solid at room temperature but become liquid when heated. Trans fats are made of hydrogen and carbon. They’re added to food to extend its shelf life, and they remain solid at room temperature. Trans fats have been linked to cardiovascular disease, but it’s less clear whether they increase the risk of stroke.
A study of risk factors for stroke reveals that eating certain foods is associated with different kinds of stroke, but it does not explain why some foods are risky for one kind but not the other. However, scientists believe some of these foods may prevent blood clots, which cause ischemic stroke. Others might reduce inflammation in the body, which is also associated with health problems generally and stroke specifically.