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Guide To Strokes in Women
All strokes are an emergency and require immediate attention, this includes ischemic strokes (caused by blockages in the arteries), hemorrhagic strokes (internal bleeding in the brain) and mini strokes. It is important know the symptoms of stroke (image) so that if you or someone else is suddenly struck, you will know to instantly dial 911 for help. The sooner a victim receives stroke treatment (ideally within the first 3 hours of the onset of symptoms) the more of the person you will save. If you are interested in reducing your risk of stroke (or even a repeat stroke), the following natural remedies may be of use. Always discuss taking any new supplements with your doctor, particularly if you are already taking drugs in case they cause interactions.
Foods To Avoid
Animal Fat and Dairy
Reduce your intake of animal fat and dairy products because they increase your stroke risk factors. Scientists are still not sure why this is but it may be because they contain high doses of calcium and low doses of magnesium. While calcium is important for the bones (and osteoporosis prevention), it requires magnesium in order to be deposited in the bones. If there is not enough magnesium in the body the calcium is dumped in the arteries instead, which eventually leads to blockages (atherosclerosis).
Avoid eating processed refined white foods such as white bread, pasta, rice, cookies and cakes. Whole grains contain more vitamin B which has been linked to stroke prevention. Vitamin B and folic acid lower levels of homocysteine in the body, a toxic product known to damage arteries.
Carbonated Drinks and Caffeine
Avoid sodas because their sugar content can damage your circulation system leading to stroke. Also, limit your intake of caffeine as it can cause a spike in blood pressure. Try herbal teas as an alternative, particularly peppermint tea, or diluted fruit juices.
Eliminate sodium salts from your diet. Instead replace them with potassium or magnesium based salts.
Reduce your intake of alcoholic drinks to the level suggested by your doctor. This may be one a day for women and two for men. The odd small whiskey in the evening is usually fine.
Foods To Eat
Eat lots of foods containing beta carotene. These include sweet potatoes, spinach, papaya, spring greens, cabbage, broccoli, pumpkin, watercress, mangoes and cantaloupe melon. The large scale Nurses Health Study (which monitored 121,000 American nurses) found that those who consumed more than 15-20 mg of beta carotene a day were 40 percent less likely to have a stroke than those who ate less than 6 mg a day.
One recent study showed that a diet low in potassium can increase the risk of stroke by 50 percent in those aged over 65. Potassium rich foods include bananas, spinach, baked potatoes with skin, prune juice, dried apricots, oranges, kidney beans and lentils. If you have kidney disease, discuss increasing potassium in your diet with your doctor first.
A lack of vitamin C can weaken the arteries, so include plenty of fresh sources in your diet in the form of fruit and vegetables.
Vitamin B And Folic Acid
Good sources of vitamin B6 are lemons, bananas, oranges, tomatoes, nuts, beans, seeds and wholegrain foods. Many breakfast cereals are now fortified with folic acid, so check the labels. An ideal breakfast is a bowel of porridge oats made with no-fat milk and a chopped apple or a few raisins to sweeten it.
Eat plenty of oily fish such as sardines, and use extra virgin olive oil for salad dressings. Sprinkle salads with unsalted nuts, flax , pumpkin or sunflower seeds.
Dark chocolate contains a substance called epicatechin which the John Hopkins University School of Medicine discovered helps protect the brain against the effects of stroke. It acts as a sort of shield for the brain cells. Eat one or two squares a day, no more.
Cayenne pepper is a powerful circulation tonic and garlic and onions act as natural blood thinners.
Vitamin B Complex: Take one supplement a day to reduce toxic levels of homocysteine.
Vitamin C: Take 1000mg of vitamin C plus 400iu of vitamin E to help protect blood from clotting. If you are taking anticoagulants or other blood thinning medications, discuss taking both vitamins first with your doctor.
Co-Enzyme Q10: People who have adequate levels of this enzyme are less likely to have a stroke. Take 100mg a day.
Magnesium: This nutrient helps to relax arteries and reduces the risk of blockages. Take 400-600 mg a day, and divide the dose. Some doctors give stroke patients an intravenous dose of magnesium directly after a stroke to help restore blood flow.
Bioflavonoid: Take 1000mg a day to help keep the small arteries of the body, called capillaries in good shape.
Screening: Consider vascular screening to check for any early signs.
Chelation Therapy: It may be worth, under medical guidance considering chelation treatment. This is a painless intravenous treatment which helps to unclog arteries and reduces the chance of stroke and heart disease in women. Although it is not a mainstream therapy, it has been used by over a million patients in the United States.
Read also, Natural Remedies for Heart Disease.