Monday, January 9, 2012


Cerebral stroke is one of the most feared events in the life of an active human being as the victim suffers immense mental and physical discomfort due to complete or partial immobilization caused by paralysis. Though a well disciplined life with regular and balanced eating habits can considerably reduce the chance of a stroke, no one is in a position to day, however eminent he or she may be, to precisely pinpoint what is a safe diet and what are the foods that should be taken to keep a person absolutely healthy. From observational studies it is often said that chocolates, fish, fruits and vegetables and some other foods, if taken regularly could pre-empt the risk of stroke while salt, meat and vitamin B-complex can enhance the risk. However there is no scientific evidence generated through clinical trials with human beings to confirm or deny such prevailing notions. Here are some interesting snippets on this topic viewed from the lens of a neuro surgeon.

"Prof Hankey said little was known about which individual nutrients and foods affected stroke risk because there was a lack of reliable evidence from randomised clinical trials. Many of the findings had instead been based on observational studies. Of the few randomised trials that had been carried out, scientists had found that antioxidant vitamins, B vitamins and calcium did not lower the risk of stroke and could actually increase the chance of heart attack and death. Prof Hankey said more research was needed to understand the role certain foods had in causing strokes so governments could develop strategies to prevent what has become one of the biggest killers in developed countries. In the meantime, he believed governments should develop policies aimed at reducing how much salt people eat and the levels of obesity - the two main nutritional threats to a person's chance of having a stroke. 'While we have seen a reduction in incidence of stroke and mortality in the past 20 to 30 years due to better control of blood pressure and smoking we are seeing a deceleration in that decline,' Prof Hankey told AAP. 'We are seeing the emergence of the beginning of a trend to increases in stroke incidence because all our kids are overweight and not exercising and we seeing strokes in young people as diabetes and metabolic syndrome take over.' High blood pressure, smoking and high cholesterol are among the major known risk factors for stroke".

All said and done the basic truth, regarding the need to restrict food intake to just satisfy the energy need of the body, still rules the roost. Excess eating over and above the body needs will definitely precipitate health disorders which can be life threatening in many cases. The causative factors for stroke are blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes and smoking and as long as these are controlled there may not be any fear from stroke. But the million dollar question is how to keep these factors under check? Simple answer is to adopt the correct daily diet and develop good dietary habit during the entire life span.


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