What to Eat to Prevent Strokes

Categories: Healthy Eating

By Aubrey Stueckler, Keene State College Dietetic Intern

A stroke happens when the blood supply to a part of the brain is interrupted or extremely reduced which can deprive the brain tissue of oxygen and other nutrients. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), in 2016, a person had a stroke every 40 seconds – and every four minutes, an American dies from a stroke.

There are many risk factors for stroke, including: high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, coronary artery disease, high cholesterol, age and gender. Daily controllable factors include:  physical activity level, stress management, smoking and eating a well-balanced diet.

Here are some tips to lower your risk of stroke:

  • Eat a variety of foods to increase your intake of vitamins, minerals, protein, fat and carbohydrates.
  • Increase activity level, no matter where you are at now. Shoot for at least 30 minutes per day of moderate exercise.
  • Choose more whole grains such as oatmeal, brown rice, whole grain pasta and whole wheat breads. The goal is to make half of the grain choices from whole grain sources. It is best to be aware of whole grain sources and to try and integrate a few servings into daily meals and snacks.
  • Choose more fruits and vegetables – fresh, frozen, or canned without added sugar and sodium. Whole fruit sources that are ideal, for example, include apples and pears that have the skin on to provide additional fiber. Include a variety of colored vegetables such as dark leafy greens, orange vegetables and red vegetables to provide a multitude of vitamins and minerals.
  • Choose foods with low amounts of salt and sodium. Check out these sneaky culprits: prepackaged frozen and boxed meals, condiments, sauces and soups!


Kale and Quinoa Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

This is a great side or entrée salad to incorporate into your diet. The homemade vinaigrette decreases the amount of sodium and added sugar when compared to a store-bought salad dressing. The salad’s ingredients provide fiber from kale and quinoa with a tangy flavor from the cranberries.

Honey & Mustard Vinaigrette

(recipe created by: www.cookingclassy.com)

½ cup olive oil
1 lemon, squeezed for juice
2 tablespoon honey
1½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Whisk all ingredients together to make salad dressing. Tip: May have to re-whisk or shake before dressing the salad. Try this salad below!


(recipe adapted from: www.cookingclassy.com)

Vinaigrette (use recipe, above)
½ cup dry quinoa
6 cups lightly packed kale, chopped
2/3 cup dried cranberries

Cook quinoa according to directions on package and cool completely. Add chopped kale to a salad bowl and pour whisked salad dressing over kale. Toss until evenly coated. Cover bowl and chill 15 minutes. Remove salad from the refrigerator. Add quinoa and cranberries.