Whole Grains Slash Stroke Risk
Each year, more than 790,000 Americans suffer at least one stroke which occurs when blood supply to certain areas of the brain is cut off. Without oxygen-rich blood, brain cells get damaged and can die within a few minutes. This results in disabilities and in most cases death. Stroke is the 5th leading cause of death in the United States and the number one cause of long-term disability, such as paralysis, or hearing, speaking, and learning impairment.
The price of stroke is staggering. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, as far back as 2005, the medical expenses incurred by a patient for ischemic stroke was $9,100 for 5.6 days and that of hemorrhagic stroke is $19,500 for 8.4 days. The cost of stroke in terms of finance and health underpins why prevention of this deadly ailment is so very important.
Fortunately, up to 80% of all cases of stroke can be prevented. Adopting a healthy lifestyle and eating healthful foods, such as whole grains, play a big role in slashing the risk of stroke. Researchers from Scotland demonstrated in their study that regular intake of whole grains can decrease the risk of stroke by approximately 25%. Another study published in the Journal of Clinical and Experiment Medicine revealed that increase in the frequency of whole grain consumption can confer individuals with significant protection against stroke.
For individuals wanting to boost their chances of preventing stroke, substituting whole grains in their diet in place of refined grains made into flour, is a great step to take. Other healthy lifestyle habits that can also help to fight off stroke include consumption of generous portions of fruits and vegetables, intake of less salt, exclusion of animal foods, cessation of smoking, avoidance of tobacco, maintenance of a healthy weight, and keeping of blood pressure within the healthy limits. Making these lifestyle changes, together with making sure that, if you do eat grains, they are cooked intact as only whole grains (as opposed to refined into flour or with the bran removed) can tilt the odds of avoiding stroke in favor of an individual. Eat as unprocessed as possible, as close to the whole food as possible, as grown in nature, even if cooking is needed for the whole grain.