8 Foods That Raise the Risk of Strokes

By Annette Bratcher, 9:00 am on

The World Health Organization claims 15 million people experience strokes every year worldwide, and the vast majority are over the age of 65. A minor stroke can result in muscle weakness, vision loss, nerve damage, and difficulty speaking. Here is a look at eight foods all seniors should avoid if they want to boost their cardiovascular health and reduce their risk of having a stroke. 

1. Fatty Cuts of Meat

High-fat diets won’t necessarily cause strokes, but eating a lot of fatty meats can weaken the cardiovascular system. Even though fats are an important part of a diet, the fat found in steaks and burgers can be harmful. Seniors need to get most of their fat from olive oil, fish, avocados, nuts, and whole eggs.

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2. Diet Soda

Many people believe diet sodas are relatively healthy. However, the chemicals used to sweeten diet soda can weaken artery walls, increase blood pressure, and kill off healthy bacteria in the gut. Seniors who are trying to wean off diet soda should switch to carbonated drinks with no additives or sweeteners. 

3. Dairy

When it comes to eating healthy, many people have a difficult time deciding if they should cut out dairy. While some forms of dairy can be relatively healthy, seniors shouldn’t make this food group a major part of their diet. Products such as milk, butter, and cheese must be eaten in moderation. 

4. Processed Condiments

The refined carbohydrates found in most condiments are typically packed with additives and white sugar. Both of those substances can increase the risk of strokes, type 2 diabetes, and many other serious health conditions. Luckily, most processed condiments can easily be reproduced at home with healthier ingredients like olive oil, honey, and vinegar. 

5. Baked Desserts

Seniors who have weakened cardiovascular systems should avoid baked goods that contain corn syrup, table sugar, molasses, and other sweeteners. Many of these sweeteners have been linked to hypertension, clogged arteries, heart failure, and heart disease. 

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6. Margarine

Margarine was originally advertised as a healthy alternative to butter because it has slightly less fat. However, the trans fatty acids found in margarine are much worse for the heart than the whole fats found in traditional butter. Whenever they make a piece of toast or baking bread, seniors might want to stick to salt-free butter. 

7. Processed Meats

To cure meat, a manufacturer must fill the product with a wide variety of additives such as nitrites, nitrates, and phosphates. More research is needed on the subject, but preliminary studies have linked these additives to higher rates of strokes and other cardiovascular events. Some of the products that should be avoided include deli meats, sausages, and hot dogs. 

8. Powdered Creamer

Just like margarine, most powdered creamers are filled with trans fatty acids. When eaten in large quantities, trans fatty acids can increase cholesterol levels and damage artery walls. Seniors who like a little bit of creamer in their coffee should try alternatives such as almond or coconut milk.

Encourage your senior loved one to switch to heart-healthy foods, and help him or her prepare nutritious meals. If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. Flower Mound seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers. To learn about our revolutionary in-home care methods, call us at 972-468-6010 today.