Study: Nutritious foods significantly reduce stroke risk

It's no secret: Implementing a nutritious diet into your everyday life can vastly improve your overall health, not to mention reduce your risk of stroke.

It's no secret: Implementing a nutritious diet into your everyday life can vastly improve your overall health, not to mention reduce your risk of stroke. While popular medications such as Lipitor are great ways to combat against stroke risk, there are a variety of lifestyle measures that can also eliminate these odds. As this severe condition continues to rank as one of the highest causes of mortality in the U.S., a new study has analyzed how simply adhering to a well-balanced diet might be the best way to decrease your first-time stroke risk.

Researchers urge healthy diet
A recent study published the American Heart Association's medical journal Stroke showed that updated guidelines which highlight specific foods may be the most beneficial in preventing stroke. While the recommendations featured more than just a regular healthy diet, the colleagues specifically pointed out how fruits, vegetables, whole grain products and nuts are the primary four foods to eat when it comes to reducing the likelihood of stroke.

Specifically, the researchers pointed out that many foods in a typical Mediterranean Diet are considered to be highly valued in downplaying the odds of blood clots occurring in the brain. One of the key dynamics to a Mediterranean Diet is that red meat consumption is extremely limited, and foods high in saturated fats should are avoided as much as possible. Beginning to eliminate animal-based products such as meat, cheese, butter and most dairy products is not just a core of the Mediterranean Diet, but also an instructed inclusion within these new stroke prevention guidelines.

In addition to keeping track of food choices, users should more aware of monitoring their blood pressure, as well as receiving frequent exercise. The combination of maintaining healthy blood pressure levels and receiving at least five 30-minute workout sessions alongside a Mediterranean Diet were some of the main points of emphasis illustrated by the researchers. Quitting smoking was another primary regulation on their list.

Dr. James Meschia, a professor at the Jacksonville Mayo Clinic and lead author of the study, believes that spreading this message of maintaining a healthier attitude toward life is one of the most critical ways to help eliminate the threat of stroke worldwide.

"We have a huge opportunity to improve how we prevent new strokes, because risk factors that can be changed or controlled — especially high blood pressure — account for 90 percent of strokes," Meschia said in a statement. "Talking about stroke prevention is worthwhile. In many instances, stroke isn't fatal, but it leads to years of physical, emotional and mental impairment that could be avoided."

Following the Mediterranean Diet
Eating recommended foods is obviously a way to stick with the Mediterranean Diet. But eliminating common ingredients and products from your meals also helps you experience the full advantage of sticking to this specific diet. Make sure you're replacing products such as butter or margarine with healthier oils whenever you're cooking, such as extra-virgin olive oil or balsamic vinaigrette. Always try to get your protein from fish as your main course, and remember that red meat is public enemy No. 1 when it comes to following the rules of the Mediterranean Diet.

While changing your eating habits is always easier said than done, keep in mind that subtly developing this dietary routine might be the difference between suffering a stroke or not. If you've experienced a stroke before or know that you're at risk for symptoms, having a prescription for Lipitor remains one of the best options for reducing blood clot risk.