How to lower stroke risk

April 7, 2008

Do you have plenty of asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, chick peas, oranges, wheat germ and kidney beans in your diet? If so, then you are naturally getting high levels of folate, which is a water soluble member of the B vitamin family, B9 to be exact. Folate is vital in protecting you against the risk of a cerebral infarction, the most common kind of stroke. In fact it accounts for 80% of all strokes, and so a recent study wanted to look at whether supplementing with vitamins, or increased intake of foods high in , could make a difference.

A dual study in Sweden and Finland have been looking at the relationship between folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and the amino acid methionine – all of which are involved with homocysteine production. Why should they be interested in that? Because high levels of blood homocysteine are linked to increased stroke risk, and much interest is being shown in how to use supplements, and diet, in a more preventive way in healthcare.

The findings of the study are encouraging if you are at risk of a stroke: those with the highest intake of folate had a 20% lower risk of stroke than those with the lowest levels.

These findings are based on the subjects’ normal, everyday, diet. They were not given any supplements or asked to eat any differently with special foods. So if you have any incidence of strokes in your family, it makes sense to include as many of these foods as possible in your diet. I certainly have a family history and much as I dislike Brussels sprouts, I must try to love them – although I think it will be my asparagus intake that goes up first!


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