Carrots have been found very valuable in stroke. A recent Harvard study has shown that eating carrots five times a week or more can reduce the risk of stroke drastically by two-thirds, compared with eating carrots only once a month or less. This conclusion was reached after observing nearly 90,000 women nurses for eight years.
Spinach is another vegetable found valuable in the prevention and treatment of stroke. The protection seems to come partly from beta carotene in carrots and spinach. A previous Harvard study found that eating the extra beta carotene in about one and a half carrots, which equals 200 g of mashed sweet potatoes or 170 g spinach (weighed raw and then cooked) every day saved 40 per cent off stroke rates. The drop was evident in those who ate 15-20 mg of beta carotene daily compared to those who ate only 6 mg. The antistroke activity in carrots, spinach and other carotene-rich vegetables seems to emanate from their antioxidant properties.
Another new research study has shown that lots of beta carotene and other Vitamin A in the blood stream can prevent death in case stroke occurs. This conclusion has been reached by Belgian researchers at the University of Brussels, who analysed the blood of 80 patients within 24 hours after they had suffered strokes. When the brain is deprived of oxygen, as in a stroke, cells begin to malfunction, leading to a series of events culminating in oxidative damage to nerve cells, but if there is lot of Vitamin A in the blood, it appears to interfere at many different stages of events, reducing brain damage and chances of death.
Other foods rich in beta carotene, besides carrots, are dark green leafy vegetables and orange colored vegetables and fruits such as spinach, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, oranges, papayas, mangoes and melon.
Potassium is another potent antidote against strokes. Eating just one extra serving of a potassium-rich food every day, may reduce the risk of stroke by 40 per cent. Researchers have discovered this by analyzing the diets of a group of 859 men and women over the age 50 years, living in Southern California.
It was remarkable that none of the persons who took substantial quantities of potassium died of a stroke, but those who regularly consumed very little potassium had much higher fatal stroke rates than all the others. Among those who took least potassium, stroke deaths shot up 2.6 times in men and 4.8 times in women. Further, the more potassium-rich foods the subjects ate, generally the fewer strokes they had. The researchers concluded that with every extra daily 400 mg of potassium in food, the odds of a fatal stroke dropped by 40 per cent. This critical margin of 400 mg of potassium is so modest that one can obtain it in a single piece of most fruits and vegetables and a glass of milk.