Stroke kills millions of people around the world every year, but the number is declining year after year. Despite the decline in mortality rates, the burden continues to increase as a result of an aging population.
Actions to improve cardiovascular health can be taken through diet, which is critical. Studies show that vegetables, eaten in moderation, may help reduce risk by up to 24 percent.
Studies have shown that sweet and white potatoes can help reduce the risk of stroke.
Foods that are high in potassium, such as sweet and white potatoes, bananas, tomatoes, peaches, watermelon and soybeans, can help you maintain healthy blood pressure, which is the main risk factor for stroke.
Magnesium-rich foods, such as spinach, are also linked to a lower risk of stroke.
And new research suggests that if older adults want to reduce their stroke risk, one of the best things they can do is eat more potassium-rich foods.
And a study published in the journal Stroke showed that those whose diet included a lot of these foods might be less likely to have a stroke than those who got little in the way.
A team of Swedish researchers analyzed 10 international studies involving more than 200,000 middle-aged and elderly adults, and found that high potassium intake reduces the risk of stroke by 24 percent in people with high blood pressure.
A larger analysis published last year in the British Medical Journal found a similar effect.
All that is required is two or three extra servings of fruit or vegetables per day.
Potassium is an electrolyte that is necessary to maintain fluid balance in the body and is involved in regulating blood pressure.
Specifically, potassium’s effect was associated with a reduced risk of ischemic strokes, those caused by blockage of an artery to the brain. Ischemic strokes account for about 80% of all strokes.
Some people need to be careful about potassium, including those with kidney disease or those who take certain blood pressure medications.
One medium sweet potato contains 12% of your daily potassium, a mineral that plays an important role in heart health by keeping sodium levels in check.
High levels of potassium cause more sodium to be excreted in the urine, which lowers blood pressure.