Monday, November 24, 2014

Eating to Help Prevent a Stroke

November is a time to reflect on what we are all grateful for as well as indulging in many of our favorite foods with the holidays rolling around. I wanted to take the time to share with all of you some important food-related facts to help give us all an upper hand in staying a bit healthier. Normally many of my posts are about food allergies and related products but when the American Red Cross contacted me and so passionately pointed out how food was a definite factor in this month's stroke awareness, how could I not share?

Just like the numbers related to food allergic reactions are scary, so are the numbers when it comes to stroke victims. Did you know that every 4 minutes a person's life is taken due to a stroke? I didn't! Did you also know that 1 in 6 people will have a stroke within their lifetime? I didn't know this either. The fact is that just as with food allergies, if it does not directly effect you or your family, chances are that you would not even think twice about stroke symptoms. But this certainly does not protect you from having one so let's share knowledge because, as I always like to say, knowledge is power.

Food Factors- Poor diet choices, high cholesterol & blood pressure and obesity are just a few things that you can begin to change in your life right now. So how do you know which foods tend to be some of the top no-no's? Here's an easy list of foods that you may want to reconsider going forward-

  • Store-bought baked goods 
  • Chips & crackers
  • Fried foods
  • Snack foods & frozen foods
  • Salad dressings
  • Packaged mixes
  • Processed/smoked meats
  • Diet soda
  • Canned goods
  • Prepared frozen meals
Now before you run into your kitchen and begin throwing everything under the sun away, stop and read your labels (well, well- another food allergy-related thing as well!). Not all of the foods that I listed may be offenders. I am talking about foods that contain hydrogenated oils or partially hydrogenated oils and high amounts of sodium. Do your research, read and reread your labels and make informed decisions. If you are unsure, ask for help. Every small thing that you do today will keep you healthier tomorrow.

photo courtesy of  http://www.recallcenter.com
Signs to Watch For- We have a few foods to watch out for but what types of symptoms do we need to be aware of if we think someone just isn't acting quite right? Just as the chart below shows us, it's easy to remember FAST

Face drooping
Arm weakness 
Speech difficulty 
Time to call 911


And, just as we seasoned food allergic people always tell others- when in doubt, seek immediate medical assistance. With a stroke, time is of the essence and there is no shame in an unnecessary medical visit. Some day, one of those visits could mean the difference between life and death. 

Food that You Should Eat- Are there foods that you can eat that will also help reduce the risk for a stroke- yes! Vegetables and fruit are always great but also make sure you eat a variety of high fiber foods and grains as well. These foods act as a pipe cleaner for your arteries. Are you worried about what they might be? Don't! Many high fiber foods are also great protein and even allergy-friendly. 
- Legumes: split peas, lentils, black beans & lima beans
- Vegetables: artichokes, peas, broccoli and brussel sprouts
- Fruits: raspberries, blackberries, avocado (yes, it's a fruit!) and pears
- Grains: Bran, whole wheat and barley. Need gluten free options? Try certified gluten free oats, quinoa, flax seeds and chia seeds.

Need a Quick Recipe? Try out some of my easy, allergy-friendly recipes (simply click on the recipe title to get too the full recipe)




<3 Please remember to be thankful for everything that life brings you each and every day but also be thankful for the things that life keeps away from you as well. For more information about how to prevent a stoke, the symptoms or other general facts please go to http://www.redcross.org/  <3

And please, be well ~





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