Stroke Awareness month - Foods to prevent strokes

The Best Foods to Prevent Stroke

Discover the best foods to prevent stroke and the foods you should avoid. Plus, see what other lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of getting this deadly disease.

Stroke kills about 5 million people worldwide per year. It’s the leading cause of permanent disability in the U.K. And it’s a rapidly growing threat for middle-aged women in particular.

But if you want to prevent yourself and those you love from getting a stroke, there’s good news…

Basic lifestyle changes can have a big impact in reducing stroke risk. In fact, according to research, stroke is 80% preventable by addressing lifestyle factors, including improving diet, stopping smoking, and getting regular exercise.

The Best Way to Avoid Stroke Is By Improving Your Diet

The best way to avoid suffering from a stroke is to eat a whole food, plant-based diet centred on vegetables, lentils, beans, seeds, whole grains, fruits, and nuts.

But to get the full benefits, plant-strong eaters must have a regular, reliable source of B12 — meaning B12-fortified foods or supplements.

Why Do Plant-Based Diets Lower The Risk of Stroke?

One reason why plant-based diets protect against stroke is due to the fibre found in whole plant foods.Studies find that for every seven grams of fibre you eat per day, you get nearly a 7% drop in the risk of first-time stroke. But 90% of the people in the U.K , never meet the minimum daily recommendation for fibre.

Plant foods are also filled with antioxidants. Antioxidant-packed foods help reduce inflammation and prevent plaque build-up in the arteries, and they also improve blood flow.In a study of more than 30,000 older women over a period of 12 years, those who ate the most antioxidant-rich foods had the lowest stroke risk. (However, choosing antioxidant supplements didn’t appear to help.)

On average, plant foods contain 64 times more antioxidants than animal foods. But you should always strive for a variety of fruits, veggies, herbs, and spices at every meal, so you can continuously flood your body with a wide range of antioxidants.

What Science Says About the Best Foods to Prevent Stroke?


Studies have shown adding an ounce of nuts per day seemed to cut the risk of stroke in half.


Greens have turned out to be associated with the strongest protection against major chronic diseases, including a 20% reduction for strokes (and heart disease) for every additional serving.

Citrus fruits

Citrus intake has been associated with lower stroke risk. According to a study of 70,000 women published in the journal Stroke, women who consumed the most flavonoids from citrus fruits over a 14-year period had a 19% lower risk of stroke than women who consumed the fewest.

Whole grains

Eating whole grains has been found to be associated with a reduced risk of stroke. It is recommended you eat at least 3 servings of whole grains each day for stroke prevention.


Garlic is a great choice for reducing stroke risk. A study found that regular garlic consumption resulted in a 50% reduction in rates of stroke.


High levels of lycopene, which is found in tomatoes, may be associated with a significantly reduced risk of stroke.

Coffee and green tea

The results of a 13-year study of more than 80,000 Japanese adults found that those who drank at least one cup of coffee a day had a 20% reduced risk of stroke and those who drank 2 to 3 cups of green tea daily had a 14% reduced risk of stroke.

Potassium-rich foods

Eating more potassium-rich foods is associated with a significantly lower stroke risk. Increasing your potassium intake can led to a 21% lower stroke risk. Less than 2% of Britons reach the daily potassium intake because most people don’t eat enough unprocessed plant foods. Potassium is abundant in fruits and vegetables. Greens, beans, and sweet potatoes are excellent sources of potassium.

Magnesium-rich foods

Higher magnesium intake is associated with a reduced risk of stroke. Beans, leafy greens, and whole grains are all loaded with magnesium.


Claire Edwards