The vast majority of STROKES are due to a lack of blood flow (ischemia) to the brain depriving it of oxygen and nutrients. Cerebral arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries of the brain), blood clots in the arteries of the brain, or dislodged blood clots (emboli) that travel to the brain from the aorta, the common carotid artery, or one of its branches, the internal carotid artery are all pathways to a stroke event. Click on pictures for larger images.
Conditions such as diabetes, dyslipidemia (faulty fat metabolism), obesity, and hypertension, as well as smoking, lack of exercise, and unhealthy eating habits are well known risk factors for a stroke.
Lifestyle changes such as stopping smoking, eating healthy foods, and daily moderate exercise such as walking, will do much to reduce not only the risk for having a stroke but also for developing any of the health conditions listed above.
So what’s healthy food?
Lightly steamed or raw vegetables (not just as a garnish on your plate) or a green salad (not iceberg lettuce), fresh fruits, whole grains (pasta, rice, bread) should be on the daily menu. Add to this seeds, nuts, and legumes. Fish such as salmon, halibut, cod, tuna, sardines, and herrings provide omega 3 oils as well as healthy proteins. Small amounts of red meat and chicken or turkey (organic — no antibiotics or steroids in the meat) can also be nourishing. Soups, stews, and curries containing these foods are easy to digest. Healthy fats in the form of olive oil, hemp seed oil, and balanced omega 3-6-9 oils help build healthy cell walls and reduce inflammation in the arteries, as well as anywhere else in the body.
Stay away as much as possible from processed food, white bread and all pasteries, white sugar, white pasta, all fried foods, including potato chips, fast foods (high in bad fats and deficient in nutrients), and candy bars or hard candy.
Below is a list of foods (incl. spices) and nutrient supplements that can support stroke recovery by reducing bad cholesterol, thinning the blood, inhibiting the formation of blood clots, and strengthening the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).
Because these foods and nutrients affect the body in similar ways as do medications that treat these conditions, it is important that you seek the advice of a naturopathic doctor who can guide you to make the necessary dietary changes and choose the proper nutrients.
Trying to make these changes on your own may result in food/nutrient — drug interactions that could cause serious harm.
GARLIC AND ONIONS
- Both help to thin the blood, prevent platelets from sticking together (platelet aggregation/agglutination), reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) levels, and help with blood sugar regulation. Moreover, their antioxidant properties help to keep inflammation of the inner linings of blood vessels to a minimum.
- Turmeric (curcumin) gives curry its yellow color. It promotes healthy digestion of fats, sugars, and proteins, protects the liver, and keeps inflammation in check via its antioxidant properties. Curcumin also protects the inner lining of the blood vessels from damage and helps to reduce fatty plaque formation in the arteries.
- This lovely spice inhibits the formation of blood clots, helps with blood sugar regulation, and reduces bad cholesterol (LDL) levels.
- This multifaceted herb (root) protects the endothelial lining of the blood vessels from inflammation, inhibits the formation of blood clots in the arteries, and helps to relax the smooth muscles of the blood vessel walls, thus promoting healthy blood flow to the brain as well as the rest of the body. Moreover, ginger supports healthy digestion of fats, sugars, and proteins.
- Using cayenne pepper instead of black pepper helps to improve cardio- and cerebrovascular health by inhibiting blood clot formation and relaxing blood vessel walls to promote blood flow to all tissues of the body, including the brain.
- This nutrient, produced by the body during cholesterol synthesis, promotes heart health and helps to lower blood pressure.
- Beware, beta blockers and statins (to lower cholesterol) interfere with the body’s synthesis of this life supporting and sustaining nutrient. It is essential to replace this nutrient via supplements when on these drugs.
- This nutrient is essential for fat metabolism — moving fatty acids (via the carnitine shuttle) into the mitochondria (energy factories) of the cells for energy production. Furthermore, carnitin promotes heart health and improves glucose availabilty (blood sugar) to all the cells of the body. Carnitine has strong antioxidant properties, protecting the endothelial lining of the blood vessels from lipid (fat) oxidation.
OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS
- Salmon, sardines, halibut, cod, and tuna contain high amounts of this valuable oil. Omega-3 oil is readily available in capsules as well.
- This fatty acid is known for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties, protecting cell walls and the endothelial lining of the blood vessels. This oil also helps to normalize blood lipid (fats) values and ward off the formation of blood clots.
- This great antioxidant protects the blood vessels from damage due to lipid (fat) oxidation. Vit E also promotes healthy myelination of the nerves, and thus nerve conduction.
- Citrus fruits and dark, leafy vegetables provide high levels of Vit C. This vitamin is essential for cardiovascular health, as it strengthens the connective tissue (collagen) of the blood vessels, making them more resilient and less vulnerable to damage.
- Vit C supports carnitine in the transport of fatty acids into the cell’s mitochondria for energy production. In this way, Vit C may help to regulate blood lipid levels.
- Thiamine (B1) — Reduces homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is associated with inflammation of the inner lining of blood vessels.
- Niacin (B3) – Reduces bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases good cholesterol (HDL) levels in the blood
- Riboflavin (B2) — Supports fat, sugar, and protein metabolism and helps the liver to prepare toxins for elimination
- Pantothenic Acid (B5) — supports fat, sugar, and protein metabolism, as well as healthy nerve function
- Pyridoxine (B6) — promotes cardio- and cerebrovascular health by reducing homocysteine levels, and reduces blood clotting
- Cobalamine (B12) — in conjunction with, B6, and folic acid reduces homocysteine level, as well as healthy nerve function
- Folic Acid — reduces homocysteine levels, supports DNA repair and healthy nerve function
- Biotin – supports healthy nerve function and participates in sugar, fat, and protein metabolism
- Inositol — supports sugar, fat, and protein metabolism, cell communication, nerve communication, and gene expression
- supports healthy muscle function and repair, as well as insulin secrection for blood sugar regulation
- is a major player in nerve conduction
- relaxes smooth muscles, as well as skeletal muscle, thus supporting relaxation, helping to maintain healthy blood pressure levels; also promotes healthy nerve conduction and helps to regulate blood sugar levels
SODIUM (FROM VEGETABLES, NOT SALT)
- together with potassium regulates nerve conduction; also important for body fluid regulation (hypertension and hypotension)
- Helps with Diabetes Type II by increasing receptor sensitivity to insulin and thus facilitating glucose entry into all cells of the body.
- High blood sugar is associated with damage to the endothelial lining of blood vessels, as well as reducing the blood vessels’ ability to relax. This results in a narrowing of the blood vessels and impaired blood flow.
Also see Herbal Support — Stroke Recovery.
Consider Craniosacral Therapy and Energetic Unwinding Of The Spine, Joints & Muscles to help your muscles to regain their strength and function in a gentle yet highly effective way.