Your stroke risk linked to more than what you eat

By: Alere Staff
Publication Date: Thu, 03/01/2012

The saying goes you are what you eat. A new study published out of Australia, where the average life expectancy was 81.5 years old in 2009 (3.5 years longer than in the U.S),1 found it may be how you eat may be the answer to reducing your risk of stroke.

According to the study in January 2012 Lancet Neurology, the two greatest risk factors that increase your risk of stroke are overeating and too much salt intake. The investigators found in over 38 years of study that high-income countries have seen a 42% reduction in stroke while poorer countries found a 100% increase.2 The trends were attributed to increased or lack of awareness of obesity, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

Author Dr Graeme J Hankey also reviewed trials and other studies which suggested stroke may be prevented by diets that are sensible and similar to the Mediterranean or DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets.2

Overeating and over salting foods was cited as responsible as the foods themselves, in many cases, for causing health problems. Many foods offer cardio-protection and can lower your risk of stroke. Some of these foods include fish, reduced fat foods, whole grains and even coffee in moderation.3 Discuss with your doctor or nurse foods that can improve your health and work well with your warfarin dose.

Further research to better understand the relationship between diet and stroke reduction is needed. In the mean time, keep your New Year’s resolution by eating reasonable portion sizes, cut back on your salt use and keep your other New Year’s resolution – exercise regularly.

Are you taking warfarin? If so, download your own copy of the Vitamin K Finder, a practical tool from Alere to help you make healthy, consistent choices of foods containing vitamin K. Share your Vitamin K Finder with your doctor so others can benefit from this valuable resource.

  1. World Bank, World Development Indicators. Life Expectancy Retrieved December 21, 2011 from Google Public Data Web Site: http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&met_y=sp_dyn_le00_in&idim=country:AUS&dl=en&hl=en&q=australia+life+expectancy
  2. Hankey GJ. Nutrition and the risk of stroke. Lancet Neurol. 2012; 11:66-81.
  3. Lowry, F. (December 20, 2011). Overeating, salt, the real culprits in stroke risk. Retrieved December 21, 2011, from Heartwire Web Site:  http://www.theheart.org/article/1330409.do?utm_campaign=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_source=20111221_EN_Heartwire