10 Foods That Can Cause A Stroke & 10 Foods That Minimize The Risk

10 Foods That Can Cause A Stroke & 10 Foods That Minimize The Risk

Heart health is incredibly important, and one way you can look out for yourself is by watching what you eat. Food plays a big part, so it's important that you know which foods are linked to higher risks of stroke and which can help minimize the risks.

1. Processed Meats

Sorry meat lovers, we've got some bad news for you. While you're probably already aware that processed meats aren't the healthiest of foods for you, they may be more detrimental to your health than you might have thought. Everything from sausages to bacon and hot dogs are incredibly high in sodium and preservatives. And what does high sodium intake mean? It can cause increased blood pressure, which is a significant risk factor of stroke. 

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2. Energy Drinks

Although energy drinks have positive associations like helping with boosting your energy, concentration, and athletic performance, drinking too much can have very negative effects on your body. High in caffeine content, it can lead to an elevated blood pressure which is known to be a major risk factor for stroke. Energy drinks are also high in sugar, which when consumed in large quantities, can lead to obesity and type 2 diabetes, increasing your stroke risk even more.

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3. White Bread

Refined grain products like white bread in particular, has been studied to increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. So if you find you tend to eat a lot of white bread throughout the day, whether it be toast for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch, it's a good idea to swap it out for healthier alternatives. Why not have oatmeal instead to kickstart your day, or use whole wheat bread for your sandwiches?

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4. Sugary Beverages

Sugary drinks might include a wider range of beverages than you initially thought! This can be anything from your suspected sodas to more surprising culprits like fruit juice and sports drinks. Drinking sugary beverages on the regular can lead to plenty of health complications like weight gain and obesity, which are known stroke risk factors. While they certainly taste good, you definitely want to limit yourself on how much you drink.

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5. Canned Soups

Despite their ease of use and convenience, we're going to have to add canned soups to our list of foods that can increase your risk of stroke. Why? Because canned soups are extremely high in sodium! Excessive salt consumption is linked to high blood pressure, which is a primary risk factor for stroke. 

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6. Red Meat

To all the meat lovers out there, we don't know how to break this one to you. Turns out, eating large amounts of red meat on a regular basis can have negative effects on your health. It's been studied to increase your chances of getting a stroke quite significantly, a fact you definitely don't want to ignore. This is due to the fact that frequent consumption is associated with increased levels of cholesterol and saturated fats, which in turn, leads to an increased risk of stroke.

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7. Candy

First the meat lovers and now the sweet tooths - we hate to be the bearer of bad news, but candy lovers have to watch out for their intake as well. It's no shocking news that candy isn't good for you, but just how bad is it? As you've probably guessed given our points on energy drinks and sugary beverages, a high sugar intake has been linked to significantly elevated risks of stroke and heart disease. That just means candy needs to go on your "to watch out for" list too.

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8. Commercially Baked Goods

Not just high in refined sugars, store-bought baked goods like cookies, cakes, and pastries are dangerous for another reason. They're also incredibly high in trans fats, which has been studied to be linked to the increased risk of heart disease and stroke. So while these goodies are delicious, we highly suggest you watch your intake. The potential for obesity, high cholesterol levels, and high blood pressure are all factors that can significantly raise your risk of getting a stroke.

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9. Frozen Pizza

Similar to canned soups, frozen pizzas are beloved for their convenience, low price tags, and tasty results. And while these are all positives, sometimes you have to weigh them against the negatives. The nutritional value of these frozen goods are shockingly bad, in fact they're so bad that they've been linked to the increased risk of stroke! Just take one look at the nutritional facts to see their high levels of sodium, saturated fats, and calories, which will help you understand immediately.

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10. High-Sodium Snacks

Processed, high-sodium snacks can be the culprits of elevated stroke risk you never thought about before. Because when you've got the munchies, are you really thinking about your health? We're here to tell you that you really should be, because chips, pretzels, and other salty snacks are high in salt which can increase your blood pressure. And as we all know, consistently high blood pressure can damage your blood vessels over time, leading to an increased risk of stroke. Maybe try opting for some healthier snacking options?

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1. Pomegranates

Though you may have only had pomegranates a couple of times in your life, it might be a good idea to start incorporating it into your diet more regularly. Packed with antioxidants that can improve your blood flow and reduce inflammation and plaque buildup, there have been many studies looking at these effects which have been said to support heart health. 

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2. Olive Oil

Here's an interesting one: while the word "oil" might lead you to believe olive oil isn't necessarily healthy, it's been studied that regularly using it in your cooking or in dressings can lower your risk of stroke. Olive oil has surprisingly great benefits when it comes to heart health, with it being high in monounsaturated fats which can help reduce bad cholesterol levels. 

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3. Garlic

Since blood clots have been studied to be a contributor of stroke, that's where garlic comes into play to save the day. Known as a blood thinner which can help with blood clots, garlic can be pretty beneficial when it comes to lowering stroke risk factors like blood pressure and/or cholesterol levels. Garlic has always been known as an ingredient incredibly beneficial for health, and this fact really proves it.

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4. Soybeans

There are currently studies being done that are looking at the connection between soybeans and soy-based products and decreased stroke risks. Known for being able to lower your bad cholesterol levels, even if it's just a little, incorporating more soy products into your diet can potentially decrease your risk of stroke. Not to mention, they're also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids which are great for heart health!

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5. Berries

Berries are delicious super fruits that are not only sweet and delicious to enjoy, but are also packed with so many health benefits. How could you resist? Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries all contain high levels of antioxidants and flavonoids which help improve blood vessel functioning while decreasing blood pressure. This contributes to an overall reduced stroke risk, which means you should be having these as a snack or dessert more often.

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6. Citrus Fruits

Turns out eating more fruits is the way to go! Alongside the berry powerhouses, it's a good idea to eat citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits on the regular. They're high in vitamin C and flavonoids, with their antioxidants helping to prevent blood clots and improving overall circulation. It's such a simple and delicious way to look out for your heart health.

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7. Prunes

Prunes (dried plums) are fruits that are typically forgotten on a daily basis, but really shouldn't be because of their amazing nutritional benefits. For one, they're incredibly rich in antioxidants, potassium, and fiber! The real stand out is their potassium levels though, as foods high in potassium can significantly help manage your blood pressure levels which is a key factor in stroke prevention.

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8. Melons

Following our point on prunes, we're just going on a fruit frenzy! Melons, like cantaloupe and watermelon, are not just hydrating fruits that taste good (and are perfect for the summertime), they also offer fantastic health benefits that can aid stroke prevention. These fruits are very high in potassium, which we've just explained is key for maintaining good blood pressure, which in turn, lowers risk of stroke.

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9. Dark Chocolate

Sweet lovers, we're finally about to give you some good news. While we've told you to avoid sugary drinks, candy, and store-bought baked goods, there is one thing you can have that will help with preventing stroke: dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains something called flavonoids, which has been linked to lower blood pressure and improved blood flow. While moderation is of course key, its anti-inflammatory properties can be great for heart health!

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10. Tomatoes

Love them or hate them, tomatoes should be eaten on the regular thanks to all the good things it can do for your body - they're a good source of lycopene, potassium, and vitamin C! And while we've already highlighted the positive effects of high potassium food, we need to shout out lycopene too. Lycopene in particular has been linked to reduced risks of stroke, likely due to its ability to lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure. 

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