Healthy diets reduce risk of strokes

May, 2013

Yesterday we looked at factors that can increase the likelihood of having a stroke within the elderly community. As promised, today we’re going to provide some advice for elderly people and their carers on healthy diets and how small changes can reduce the risk of having a stroke.

There are various foods which can reduce the risk of strokes. These include:

  • Unsaturated fats (found in nuts, seeds and oily fish)

  • A diet rich in fruit and vegetables (which contain antioxidants to help protect the blood vessels against atherosclerosis)

  • Fibre can help lower the risk of a stroke.

  • Consuming one to two servings more of fruit and vegetables a day, combined with a normal body mass index (BMI), can reduce the risk by up to 40 per cent!

However; too much salt (sodium) and saturated fats (found in animal fats such as red meat, cheese and butter) increase your risk of a stroke.

Please find below information for elderly people and their families regarding the do’s and don’ts of healthy eating:


  • Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day

  • Base their diet around starchy foods, such as potatoes, wholegrains (such as brown rice), couscous, pasta, yams and sweet potatoes

  • Choose low-fat meat and poultry, such as chicken, turkey, rabbit and game

  • Include oily fish, a good source of omega-3 fats, which help protect blood vessels

  • Have skimmed milk and low-fat yoghurts and cheese, such as cottage cheese

  • Save fatty, sugary foods for occasional treats


  • Consume too many fats, especially saturated fats and transfatty acids found in some margarines

  • Fry – grilling, steaming, baking or microwaving are healthier

  • Eat too many processed foods and snacks, which are usually high in salt (as well as sugar and saturated fat)

  • Consume more than the recommended amount of alcohol – 21 units a week for men and 14 units a week for women

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