What to eat (and how to supplement) to ward off stroke

The possibility of stroke scares the heck out of just about anybody.

And because stroke victims are getting younger these days, I’ve been writing about stroke risk and how to recognize it for a couple of weeks. Start by reading my earlier posts, “Middle-aged? What you need to know about your stroke risk” and “8 strange stroke risks explained.”

Today, I want to discuss nutrients proven to reduce the development of cerebrovascular disease — which can lead to stroke.

These will include anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory foods, herbs and other nutrient supplements that could help push your stroke risk far away.

The stroke-preventing foods

To function well, your brain needs the omega-3, -6 and -9 essential fatty acids.

The omega 3 fats are most anti-inflammatory and build healthy brain and nerve tissue.

Foods highest in omega-3 oils are wild fish/seafood and plant oils such as avocado oil, olive oil, grapeseed oil, hemp oil, and flaxseed oil.

Related: 5 reasons to test your omega-3 levels

Also, your brain thrives on nutrients from raw foods and produce (fresh, frozen, steamed).

Raw foods slow the process of inflammation in your body according to a study by the late Swiss doctor, Paul Kouchakoff, M.D.

His scientific paper was entitled, The Influence of Food Cooking on the Blood Formula of Man and was presented in Paris at the First International Congress of Microbiology in 1930.

In this work, Dr. Kouchakoff showed that with eating cooked food, the human body has a white blood cell (leukocytosis) reaction much like in a bacterial or viral infection.

Moreover, he showed that this inflammatory (leukocytosis) reaction also occurs when we ingest foods that are manufactured, processed, or have chemical preservatives or dyes added.

Related: What apples and pears do to your stoke risk

However, when humans ate raw foods there were no leukocytosis reactions detected.

Think of the constant inflammation we are causing to our brains by eating cooked and processed foods day in and day out.

How raw should you go to avoid a stroke?

Raw foods act as “cleansing foods” to reduce unwanted metabolic byproducts that get stored in fat cells, including nerve tissue and throughout your body.

Eating at least 50 percent of your food raw could provide big benefits. And it’s not that hard…

  • Just start with raw fruits and raw vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sprouted grains.
  • Graze on nuts and seeds as raw food snacks. Nut milks are also raw foods.
  • Make fruit and nut smoothies for meals or desserts.
  • Salsa (made with garlic and onion, and other fresh foods) works great for snacks on chips.

You’ll find that many fruits and vegetables (herbs, too) have the highest antioxidant activity, mineral content and overall best healing and disease-reversing ability. You can be sure of their superfood status by checking their ORAC score.

In contrast, anyone with stroke or neurodegenerative disorder risk must stay away from excessive alcohol, artificial food colorings, artificial sweeteners, sodas and high-sugar drinks, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup, candies, cakes, cookies, pies, hydrogenated fats, white bread, and tobacco.

Stroke-preventing nutrients that can be supplemented

These are powerful nutrients that can help reduce stroke risk:

  • Nattokinase is a potent fibrin inhibitor that reduces arterial blood clots
  • Coenzyme Q10 is the spark that ignites the formation of ATP in the cell’s mitochondria. Stroke prevention dose is 100 mg, treatment dose 200-400 mg/day
  • Alpha-lipoic Acid boosts the levels of the endogenous antioxidant, glutathione
  • L-Carnitine enhances mitochondrial production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Stroke prevention dose is 1,000 milligrams three times/day
  • D-Ribose is a sugar-like molecule that enhances CoQ10 and L-Carnitine function
  • Green tea (Camellia Sinensis) is the ultimate brain drink and has antioxidant properties and a proven history among the Chinese to prevent stroke
  • Quercetin inhibits oxidized LDL-Cholesterol. Quercetin supplementation showed a 73% reduction in stroke risk in one study.
  • Hawthorne berry lowers blood pressure and helps prevent stroke
  • Ginkgo Biloba increases blood flow to brain arterioles and is an antioxidant
  • Garlic is an antioxidant that also reduces arterial plaque development, reduces blood clotting, increases vessel elasticity, lowers fibrinogen levels, lowers cholesterol and lowers blood pressure. Use as a spice in meals or as a capsule
  • Magnesium is best obtained in a high vegetable diet
  • L-Taurine is an amino acid that is found to reduce heart arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) that can contribute to stroke. The stroke-preventing dose is 1000 mg/day
  • L-Lysine at 1000 milligrams daily inhibits lipoprotein-a and slows clotting
  • L-Arginine at 6,000 milligrams daily has been shown to dramatically lower cholesterol and relax blood vessels via the production of nitric oxide
  • EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid), taken orally or intravenously as a chelator, is well known to open up small blood vessels and allow them to be more elastic

Related: Chelation: What is it and why doctors only suggest it part of the time

  • Vitamin E 800 to 1600 IU daily provides low-grade fibrinolysis (blood thinning)
  • B-complex vitamins, especially B6, B12, and folic acid
  • Policosanol extract made from plant waxes 1-2 times daily can decrease LDL-cholesterol and increase HDL-cholesterol
  • Vinpocetine (from the periwinkle plant) 30 mg daily vasodilates brain vessels, improves memory and concentration
  • Grape seed extract 150 mg daily reduces high blood pressure, reduces cholesterol, helps prevent arterial plaque build-up, and lowers stroke risk.
  • Healthy fats high in omega-3 to omega-6 ratio is anti-inflammatory to nerves


Editor’s note: If this health issue really matters for you or a loved one… if you want to discover how to slash you risk of stroke… stop sudden cardiac death — and drop heart disease risk by 400 percent, Click here to keep reading!

Sources:

  1. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research. Milwaukee 1, Wisconson
  2.  Safari, M. R., et al.  Effects of flavonoids on the susceptibility of low-density lipoprotein to oxidative modification — Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids.  69(1):73-77, 2003.
  3.  Rivera, F., et al.  Some aspects of the in vivo neuroprotective capacity of flavonoids: bioavailability and structure-activity relationship — Neurotox Res.  6(7-8):543-553, 2004.
  4.  Michelle H. Loy and Dr. Richard S. Rivlin of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York quoting Nutrition in Clinical Care August 2000; 3:145-152.
Dr. Michael Cutler

By Dr. Michael Cutler

Dr. Michael Cutler is a graduate of Tulane University School of Medicine and is a board-certified family physician with more than 20 years of experience. He serves as a medical liaison to alternative and traditional practicing physicians. His practice focuses on an integrative solution to health problems. Dr. Cutler is a sought-after speaker and lecturer on experiencing optimum health through natural medicines and founder of the original Easy Health Options™ newsletter — an advisory on natural healing therapies and nutrients. His current practice is San Diego Integrative Medicine, near San Diego, California.