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WAYS TO RECOGNISE, PREVENT AND TREAT A STROKE

Cerebrovascular accident is the medical term for a stroke and is caused by an interruption of blood supply to the brain. This can be caused by a blockage in the arteries from blood clots (ischemic stroke) or the leaking or rupture of a blood vessel (haemorrhagic stroke). Some people may experience only a temporary disruption of blood flow to their brain (transient ischemic attack).

A stroke marks the termination of the operation of certain groups of brain cells and is the result of lack of oxygen or nutrients causing these brains cells to quickly die. Symptoms can sometimes be hard to see but most common signs of a stroke are:

  • Confusion, problems with speech and understanding.

  • Dizziness and vomiting.

  • Inability to keep both arms raised.

  • Lop sided smile.

  • Numbness of the face, arms or legs, especially on one side of the body.

  • Sudden vision problems, in one or both eyes including blurred, blackened or double vision.

  • Sudden loss of balance or coordination and issues with walking.

  • Sudden and severe headache.

Less common symptoms that may also be the sign of a stroke

  • A brief loss of consciousness, confusion or fainting.

  • Fast breathing and chest pain.

  • Nausea and vomiting.

  • Sudden hiccups.

  • Sudden pain in the face.

A stroke is a medical emergency as it can cause permanent damage to the neural pathways in the brain and is often fatal if not treated very promptly. The devastating effects can be reversed if a neurologist can treat the patient within three hours. Some people can recover completely or, if not treated promptly, end up in a helpless and hopeless paralysed condition for the rest of their lives. Therefore, if you ever see someone faint or fall over you could save their life by asking them four simple questions as soon as they regain consciousness.

 

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Think "FAST" and do the following:

Stroke and blood clot

 

 

 

 

 

  • Face: Ask the individual to smile. One side of the face may droop downwards.

  • Arms  Ask them to raise both arms. One arm may be unable to be raised or drifts downwards.

  • Speech:  Ask the person to speak a simple sentence coherently such as "It looks like it may rain later".

  • Tongue: Ask the patient to stick out their tongue. The tongue may be crooked or point to one side or the other.

Call emergency services immediately if the patient fails to do any of these requests successfully (UK number is 999).

STEPS TO AVOID STROKES

The following are all risk factors which may lead to a stroke.

  • Antiphospholipid syndrome.

  • A nutritionally poor and imbalanced diet.

  • Arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis, hardened and narrowed arteries.

  • Caffeine.

  • Cancer.

  • Cold weather.

  • Deep vein thrombosis.

  • Diabetes.

  • Excess consumption of animal products.

  • Genetics, family history of blood clots.

  • Heavy metal contamination.

  • High blood pressure.

  • High LDL cholesterol levels.

  • High triglyceride levels.

  • Lack of physical activity, prolonged sitting or bed rest.

  • Liver damage.

  • Medications and recreational drugs.

  • Obesity.

  • Over consumption of omega-6 fatty acids.

  • Over consumption of trans fatty acids.

  • Peripheral artery disease.

  • Polycythaemia.

  • Pregnancy.

  • Smoking tobacco.

  • Surgery.

  • Traumatic head injuries.

ANTIPHOSPHOLID SYNDROME

Antiphospholipid syndrome occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks some of the normal proteins in blood. Antiphospholipid syndrome can cause blood clots to form in arteries or veins. It can also cause pregnancy complications, such as miscarriage and stillbirth. There is no known natural cure for this condition as yet but there are medications that can reduce the risks of a stroke.

CAFFEINE

Anyone predisposed to or recovering from a heart attack should avoid caffeine laden drinks such as coffee and fizzy sports drink. One popular canned drink which purports to "give you wings" has been linked with heart attacks and strokes because it thickens the blood and rapidly increases the heart rate. This drink, popular with those that partake in extreme sports and those that wish to stay awake longer, is now banned in Norway, Denmark and Uruguay and France stopped selling it between1996 and 2008.

CANCER AND STROKES

It should be noted that many cancer patients develop blood clots that can lead to a stroke after conventional chemotherapy treatment. Nearly 4000 deaths, during  the three years from 2013, are attributed to the formation of a fatal blood clot and not the cancer itself. Therefore, individuals undergoing treatment for cancer should follow the guide to avoiding strokes as listed here.

Polycythaemia is a slow-growing type of blood cancer in which the bone marrow makes too many platelets, and/or red or white blood cells. These excess cells thicken the blood and cause complications, such as a risk of blood clots or bleeding and may lead to a stroke.

DRUGS THAT CAN CAUSE STROKES

Many prescribed and over the counter medications can lead to a stroke such as:

  • Chemotherapy drugs

  • Diet pills

  • Diuretics

  • Hormone therapy drugs containing oestrogen

  • Laxatives

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)

  • Oral contraceptives

  • Some breast cancer drugs

  • Steroids

Recreational drugs known to cause strokes are:

  • Cocaine

  • Heroin

  • ‘Legal highs’ (dependent upon composition).

  • Methamphetamines

  • Nitrous oxide gas

Cocaine is particularly dangerous as it reduces blood flow to the brain, increase the heart rate and promotes blood clotting.

EXCESS CONSUMPTION OF ANIMAL PRODUCTS

Some intestinal bacteria transforms carnitine, a nutrient found in beef, cheese, milk, oily fish, pork, poultry, rabbit and venison into an artery clogging compound known as trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO). Some other species of bacteria in the intestines also turn lecithin, a nutrient found in large amounts in beef, egg yolks, lamb, organ meats, pork, soya and some whole grains, into this compound which can alter the metabolism of cholesterol and slow the removal of blood cholesterol that accumulates as plaque on artery walls causing atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and, if the build-up ruptures and blocks an artery in the brain, results in a stroke.

Both lecithin and carnitine are manufactured by the human body and are essential for vital processes and therefore consuming extra lecithin and carnitine in the diet is unnecessary and simply provides the intestinal bacteria with a resource to produce trimethylamine-N-oxide. Cutting right down on animal produce to around twice or three times a week can significantly reduce the risk of developing atherosclerosis and suffering a stroke.

Natural plant foods to consume to ensure the body can produce its own lecithin and carnitine

  • Almonds

  • Amaranth

  • Broccoli

  • Brussel sprouts

  • Buckwheat

  • Cauliflower

  • Collard greens

  • Flaxseed

  • Garlic

  • Grapes

  • Grape seed oil

  • Kale

  • Mustard greens

  • Oats

  • Onions

  • Oranges

  • Peppers (red)

  • Poppy seeds

  • Pumpkin seeds

  • Quinoa

  • Rampion

  • Rapeseed oil

  • Sesame seeds and oil

  • Soybean oil

  • Sunflower seed

  • Spinach

  • Tangerines

  • Yoghurt

HEAVY METAL CONTAMINATION

Heavy metals can be consumed and inhaled and can end up deposited in various tissues in the body including arterial walls where they cause inflammation and damage. This can lead to hardening and narrowing of the arteries which can then lead to a stroke. One of the most prolific heavy metals, mercury, has been deposited in the world’s oceans globally by fossil fuelled emissions from coal-fired power plants and has now contaminated the deep sea fish and bottom dwelling shellfish that humans consume. Bacteria converts mercury, as it sinks from the ocean surface, into a highly-toxic form called methylmercury.

Fortunately, there are plant foods that can help the body to eliminate heavy metals from the system. Ironically, algae and seaweed from the ocean has this ability.

NATURAL FOODS THAT CAN ELIMINATE HEAVY METALS

  • Alfalfa

  • Asparagus

  • Avocado

  • Chlorella

  • Coriander

  • Dulse

  • Irish moss

  • Kelp

  • Seaweed

  • Spirulina

Sulphur-rich foods also help to remove heavy metals. Choose a portion of any of the following to add to the daily diet:

 

  • Beans

  • Beef

  • Beetroot

  • Broccoli

  • Brussel sprouts

  • Cabbage

  • Carrots

  • Cheese

  • Chives

  • Eggs

  • Garlic

  • Hemp seeds

  • Legumes

  • Onions

  • Organ meats

  • Rabbit

  • Radish

  • Restharrow

  • Nuts

  • Venison

Food grade activated charcoal can also remove arsenic and other heavy metals. It is recommended that 10 grams is consumed twice a day for twelve days half an hour before eating a meal when exposure is suspected.

 

It is wise to consume foods containing essential minerals during this process as they can also be removed during chelating.

 

Almonds, pistachio nuts, pumpkin seeds, spirulina and sunflower seeds are rich in potassium and a serving of one of these should also be consumed during the chelating process.

 

Brazil nuts can help to restore the minerals, like selenium and zinc, that may be lost in the chelating process and two nuts should be consumed every day during this time then two per fortnight thereafter. Follow links to find out other foods rich in selenium and zinc:

Basil, coriander, dill and hemp seeds are very rich in magnesium so should also be consumed during the chelating process.

 

A litre of bottled-at-source mineral water should also be consumed each day during the twelve day chelating process and use unrefined sea salt or Himalayan crystals instead of table salt.

 

HIGH TRIGLYCERIDE LEVELS

 

Triglycerides are a form in which fat is carried in the bloodstream. In normal amounts, triglycerides are important for good health because they serve as a major source of energy. High levels of triglycerides, however, are associated with high total cholesterol, high LDL cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol, and therefore, an increased risk of plaque forming and leading to a stroke.

 

In addition, high triglycerides are often found along with a group of other disease risk factors that has been labelled 'metabolic syndrome', a condition known to increase risk of not only heart disease, but diabetes and stroke. Metabolic syndrome is the combined presence of high triglycerides, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess weight and low HDL cholesterol. Two servings of omega-3-rich foods a week can naturally lower triglycerides.

 

OVER CONSUMPTION OF OMEGA-6 FATTY ACIDS

 

Omega-6 fatty acids encourage blood clot formation whereas omega-3  fatty acids reduce clotting. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in the diet has been recommended as 4:1, however, the western diet is often far higher in omega-6 than omega-3. To rectify this more foods rich in omega-3 should be consumed. Hemp seeds are one of the very few natural foods that provide the correct balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids.

Natural sources of DHA, DPA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids

NOTE: Menhadon fish are a prime source of docosapentaenoic acid, more so than most other oily fish. Deep ocean fish, especially the larger species such as swordfish, are contaminated by mercury and so should be consumed with the foods that can help to remove mercury from the body as mentioned above under heavy metals or avoided by those that may be prone to developing dementia or who already have done so.

Natural sources of omega-3 linolenic acid

Highest sources of omega-3 fatty acids in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Krill oil 36000 mg

  • Flaxseed oil 22813 mg

  • Chia seeds 17552 mg

  • Walnuts 9079 mg

  • Caviar (fish eggs) 6789 mg

  • Cloves (ground) 4279 mg

  • Oregano (dried) 4180 mg

  • Marjoram (dried) 3230 mg

  • Tarragon (dried) 2955 mg

  • Mackerel 2670 mg

  • Herring 2365 mg

  • Salmon (wild) 2018 mg

  • Lamb 1610 mg

  • Basil (dried) 1509 mg

  • Sardines 1480 mg

  • Anchovies 1478 mg

  • Soya beans 1433 mg

  • Trout 1068 mg

  • Pecans, sea bass 986 mg

  • Pine nuts 787 mg

  • Bell peppers (green) 770 mg

  • Oysters 740 mg

  • Radish seeds sprouted 722 mg

  • Purslane 400 mg

  • Basil (fresh leaves) 316 mg

  • Rabbit 220 mg

  • Kidney beans 194 mg

  • Wakame seaweed 188 mg

  • Alfalfa sprouts 175 mg

  • Brussel sprouts 173 mg

  • Rocket 170 mg

  • Cauliflower 167 mg

  • Spinach 138 mg

  • Broccoli 129 mg

  • Raspberries 126 mg

  • Lettuce 113 mg

  • Blueberries 94 mg

  • Summer squash 82 mg

  • Strawberries 65 mg

  • Milk 75 mg

  • Eggs 74 mg

  • Chinese cabbage (pak choy) 55 mg

LIVER DAMAGE

 

Although it may seem odd to connect the liver with the occurrence of a stroke, there is good reason why a damaged liver could be a risk factor. The surface of the liver is covered with cholesterol receptors which mop up the excess LDL cholesterol in the blood that the HDL cholesterol has collected and brought back to the liver for storage or excretion. If the liver is damaged and scarred there may be fewer of these receptors available and hence LDL cholesterol levels can rise. The liver is responsible for so many processes, including the digestion, manufacture and storage of many nutrients which are necessary to prevent a stroke, that any damage is likely to increase the chance of a stroke. Alcohol and many different drugs can cause serious liver damage and should be consumed in moderation, if at all, when a stroke is a possibility. Click here for more information about taking care of the liver naturally.

 

OVER CONSUMPTION OF TRANS FATTY ACIDS

 

Bovine (cows, steer, oxen, etc) food sources are probably the greatest natural contributors of trans fatty acids to the human diet. Beef, butter and milk triglycerides may contain two to eight percent of their fatty acids as trans fatty acids. Cattle are not solely responsible for generating this trans fatty acid content. It is actually the bacteria in their unique stomachs that produce it. These fatty acids are then absorbed by the cow and make their way into the tissues and milk of these animals.

 

In addition, trans fatty acids can be created during the heat processing of oils (i.e. margarine and other hydrogenated oils) and in cooking oils which are produced using heat or used over long periods for cooking, such as in restaurants and fast food outlets. In more recent decades, more than half of the trans fatty acids in the human diet were derived from processed oils either consumed plain or used in recipes (e.g. fried foods, baked snack foods, nut butters). Biscuits, crisp, crackers and other snack foods that use hydrogenated vegetable oil may contain up to ten percent of their fatty acids as trans fatty acids which is linked to the increased risk of heart disease. When stroke risk factors present avoid processed foods as much as possible and always choose virgin cold-pressed oils.

 

SMOKING TOBACCO

 

Since 1612, when tobacco first became a cash crop of consumption in America, one of the most common causes of a stroke can be attributed to smoking tobacco. Nicotine restricts blood vessels and the chemicals that are inhaled from tobacco smoke causes clogging of the arteries. This means that it is imperative that not only smoking but consuming any form of nicotine is ceased if a stroke is to be avoided. Switching to nicotine replacements will help to repair the damage done to the lungs and arteries and eliminate the many other harmful toxins from the body but nicotine is also a serious risk factor due to its blood vessel constricting abilities.

 

BLOOD THINNING MEDICATIONS

 

Blood thinning medications can have side effects which are unpleasant and harmful therefore it is always wiser to try to thin the blood naturally first through adjusting the diet. Aspirin can cause intestinal problems and stomach ulcers and Warfarin is a rat poison.  Anticoagulant medications, such as Warfarin, can cause excessive bleeding both internally and externally. People taking anti-coagulants must seek immediate medical attention if they are involved in a major accident, experience a significant blow to the head or are unable to stop any bleeding. It is a good idea to wear something that indicates you are taking this medication in case you are unconscious after any injury. See a professional health practitioner if any persistent side effects occur while taking anticoagulant medication.

 

COMMON SIDE EFFECTS ANTICOAGULANT MEDICATIONS

  • Diarrhoea.

  • Fever (a temperature of 38C (100.4F) or above).

  • Hair loss.

  • Jaundice (yellow colouring of skin or whites of the eyes).

  • Kidney problems.

  • Nausea or vomiting (feeling sick).

  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) which leads to a dull pain around the top of the stomach.

  • Red or purple patches of skin (purpura).

  • Skin rashes.

Urgent medical attention is required if any of the following occur when taking anticoagulants

  • Bleeding gums.

  • Blood in the vomit or coughing up blood.

  • Heavy or increased bleeding during menstruation or any other bleeding from the vagina.

  • Nosebleeds (lasting longer than 10 minutes).

  • Passing blood in the urine or faeces.

  • Passing black faeces.

  • Severe bruising.

  • Unusual headaches.

WARFARIN INDUCED SKIN NECROSIS

Warfarin can lead to skin necrosis (tissue death). This condition is caused by blood clots blocking the blood vessels, leading to damaged areas of skin. The first is red or purple patches of skin (purpura), followed by blood blisters and then painful skin lesions. There is often a red, net-shaped rash around the damaged skin. Symptoms are more likely to appear on fatty areas, such as the breasts, abdomen, buttocks and thighs and usually appear within the first two to five days after starting to take warfarin. See a professional health practitioner immediately if skin necrosis is suspected.

What to avoid to prevent strokes

Avoiding all foods which can result in clogged arteries and thickened blood is absolutely essential.

  • Bread (especially white)

  • Biscuits

  • Cheese

  • Coffee and other caffeinated products

  • Confectionary, cakes, sugary desserts and snacks

  • Corn syrup

  • Crisps and chips (French fries)

  • Fizzy drinks

  • Margarine

  • Packaged foods and snacks (savoury or sweet)

  • Processed meats such as bacon, salami and sausage

  • Ready meals

  • Refined foods such as white flour, white rice, table salt and sugar

  • Salted peanuts

  • Takeaway meals

  • Cafes and restaurants

Avoiding over consumption of toxins that can overwork the liver or cause fat build-up will also help the body to regulate blood flow and cholesterol such as the following. Follow the blue links to find out about the dangers of these substances.

Reducing the risk of a stroke

Keeping the blood flow normal and thin is essential to avoid strokes especially in parts of the world where the weather is colder. Strokes are more common during the colder times of the year as the circulation is more sluggish and the blood thick and viscous which can be damaging to organs especially the heart and brain. Thick blood is less capable of carrying nutrients and oxygen effectively around the body and brain to where they are required and can result in blood clots forming that can lead to heart attack or stroke when they travel to and block the arteries feeding these vital organs. When excess plaque has formed on arterial walls, the passage way for blood is reduced leading to high blood pressure. If blood is also very thick this can become dangerous.

Mild exercise and daily hot baths can help to improve the circulation so always avoid sitting still for too long or allowing the body to become chilled. Those at risk of strokes should always wear thermal long socks, hats and gloves to keep the extremities warm when the weather is cold.

Moderate daily stretching and walking exercises will encourage the body to eliminate excess fat build-up and encourage an increase in the body's metabolism, help with digestion and absorption of nutrients and improve the circulation. Those with sedentary jobs and lifestyles and other risk factors for strokes must make sure they stretch their legs every 20 minutes or so to avoid clots forming in the legs. This is especially necessary during long haul flights.

Many natural foods can thin and cleanse the blood without having to resort to chemical drugs which have some serious side effects, overwork the liver, damage the stomach walls, reduce absorption of many vital nutrients and force expulsion of minerals through the urine.

Keeping strictly to a normal balanced weight by cutting out all processed foods and refined sugar and consuming plenty of natural foods such as fruits, herbs, legumes, nuts, oily fish, pulses, seeds, spices and vegetables instead will also radically reduce the risk of a stroke. Kick start weight loss and cleanse the body of fatty build-up by trying raw juice therapy using a powerful 900 watt juicer for at least three days. Then add a selection of the natural foods listed on this page to the diet.

Natural foods to juice to avoid a stroke

  • Apple

  • Beetroot

  • Blueberries

  • Carrot

  • Celery

  • Grapefruit

  • Ginger

  • Grapes (black or red)

  • Pineapple

  • Lemon

  • Lettuce

  • Pomegranate

  • Spinach

  • Watercress

Fibre

High fibre foods  lower LDL cholesterol in the blood hence reducing the risk of strokes. A healthy fibre-rich diet is also important to ensure that the digestion and excretory system is working well as constipation can cause straining and this has been known to cause haemorrhaging of blood vessels in the brain. Poor digestion also means vital nutrients required by all body cells, including those in the brain, will not be absorbed well. Weakened blood vessels caused by a lack of nutrients can also lead to a stroke. Taking one tablespoon of psyllium husks daily can help to improve digestion and rectify many colon issues including diarrhoea or constipation as they improve the consistency and transit of the stool. Maintaining healthy levels of bacteria in the intestines is important. Avoiding antibiotics which indiscriminately kills all bacteria present and consuming more probiotics foods can readdress the balance,

Probiotic foods

Daily essentials

  • Almonds (five per day)

  • Apples have two types of fibre that can lower cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of hardening of the arteries, heart attack and stroke. Consume one red apple per day (including the skin).

  • Apple cider vinegar (one tablespoon)

  • Beetroot have properties that can not only lower blood pressure and relax the arteries but also lowers cholesterol and provides an abundance of other nutrients such as potassium that helps prevent strokes. Drink one glass (500 ml) of beetroot juice or consume 500 grams of beetroot per day.

  • Berries (red and black, one portion)

  • Brazil nuts (two per day) Provides the selenium and vitamin E the body requires.

  • Cayenne pepper (quarter teaspoon per day in meals or teas)

  • Cinnamon

  • (pinch)
  • Citrus fruits (one per day including some grated zest)

  • Garlic (four cloves per day)

  • Ginger (one teaspoon of powder or one knuckle freshly grated)

  • Green leafy vegetables such as beetroot greens, broccoli, cabbage, cress, kale, lettuce, mustard greens, rocket, spinach, Swiss chard and watercress are vital to the health of arteries, the brain and the liver. Choose at least one of them to include in the diet every day.

  • Green tea (three cups)

  • Hemp seeds (one tablespoon per day with husks. Can be ground in a coffee grinder)

  • Herbs such as anise, basil, borage, burdock, dandelion, fennel, liquorice root, marjoram, milk thistle, mint, oregano, peppermint, pine needle, rosemary, sage, tarragon and thyme have many stroke preventing properties and should be used liberally in meals and can be drunk as teas three times a day.

  • Himalayan pink salt crystals. Use instead of table salt to provide the minerals that have been striped from normal table salt during the refining process.

  • Kiwi fruits can reduce the plaque that sticks to arterial walls and is a rich source of vitamin C. Consume one kiwi fruit each day.

  • Lemon (one squeezed per day in teas or on salads or fish)

  • Mineral water (at least six glasses per day. Drink one glass just before bed to help flush toxins and waste from the brain)

  • Nutmeg

  • Pepper corns (all colours ground on all meals)

  • Pomegranates (fresh or juiced) Reduces arterial plaque.

  • Pumpkin seeds (one tablespoon)

  • Psyllium husks (one tablespoon)

  • Cleanses the colon and enables proper stools and excretory processes.
  • Root vegetables are rich in many nutrients the brain needs so consume at least one each day.

  • Turmeric (half to one teaspoon)

  • Walnuts are a rich source of brain protective omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients that can help to prevent strokes. Consume five halves per day.

  • Yoghurt (plain with live cultures) Use for breakfast with fruit, nuts, seeds and whole grains or in place of cream on deserts, eggs, fish or vegetables and in dips

Natural foods that can reduce the risk of a stroke

  • Amaranth and quinoa are nutritionally rich seeds and good gluten-free alternative to grains in the diet providing fibre and vitamin E.

  • Andrographis can help to stop the clumping of blood platelets which is the clotting process that can lead to heart attacks.

  • Aubergines are rich in chlorogenic acid which can balance the cholesterol levels in the blood. Wash and cut one in half and cut slices in which cloves of garlic can be pushed into. Then pour olive oil over them and bake in a moderate oven for 30 minutes. Garlic helps to purify and thin the blood..

  • Barley grass is one of the very few plant foods that contains healthy levels of vitamin B12 as well as being rich in many other nutrients and minerals also necessary in the prevention of strokes. When limiting dairy and meat in the diet, a deficiency of vitamin B12 may occur. Take one tablespoon of powdered barley grass per day.

  • Beetroots can reduce blood pressure because they are rich in nitrates which produces nitric oxide in the blood and this causes widening of blood vessels and lowering of blood pressure. In studies it has been found that consumption of about 500 grams of beetroot or 500 ml of beetroot juice every day reduces a person’s blood pressure within around six hours. Beetroots also contain potassium which is a vasodilator that means it dilates the blood vessels. When vessels are dilated they become relaxed and this then also lowers the blood pressure throughout the body and therefore clots are less likely to form.

  • Brazil nuts are a rich source of selenium and two should be consumed every few days or daily if participating in any intense physical activity.

  • Butcher's broom can treat varicose veins and poor circulation in the veins as it contains anti-inflammatory and vein-constricting properties that are believed to improve the tone and integrity of veins and shrink the swollen tissue. It can be taken in tea form. The tea has a slightly bitter taste, so honey can be used to sweeten it. The tea can be made by steeping one teaspoon of the herb in a cup of hot water for 10 to 15 minutes. NOTE: Butcher's broom should not be used by people with high blood pressure, benign prostatic hyperplasia, by pregnant or nursing women or by people taking alpha-blocker or antidepressant, monoamine oxidase (mao) inhibitor drugs.

  • Cantaloupes can reduce the plaque that sticks to arterial walls. Consume one bowl of cantaloupe each day.

  • Chilli peppers and all other hot peppery tasting plant foods including chives, daikon, horseradish, mustard, onions, radishes and rocket have powerful properties that can help to thin the blood and prevent strokes.
  • Cloves boost the metabolism while removing toxins from the blood stream and support a healthy immune system. They also reduce the risk of a stroke by preventing the formation of blood clots while regulating blood sugar levels. Add four cloves buds to a cup of tea with the herbs and spices listed below and consume three times a day. Add the freshly squeezed juice of a lemon which will increase the benefits of the other ingredients and a teaspoon of honey to sweeten it.

  • Fennel seeds are rich in flavonoid antioxidants which protect against high cholesterol and strokes. Grind them into a powder and consuming one teaspoon every day in meals or a tea.

  • Fenugreek seeds can reduce platelet aggregation, thus decreasing the risk of abnormal blood clotting associated with strokes. They also have properties that helps lower cholesterol, blood sugar and helps to remove excess fat. Soak one teaspoon of fenugreek seeds in water overnight. The next morning, eat the soaked seeds on an empty stomach. Do this once a day.

  • Garlic (three cloves) and ginger (1/2 inch root grated or one teaspoon dried and powdered) and turnips,  consumed cooked daily with meals or in soups or teas can thin the blood and provide additional beneficial nutrients.

  • Ginger is a powerful natural salicylate which can block vitamin K1 and thin the blood. It also boosts blood circulation in arteries and veins. Plus, it helps prevent high cholesterol, which can cause plaque build-up and inhibit circulation. Drink ginger tea two or three times a day. To make the tea, boil one tablespoon of sliced ginger in two cups of water and let it simmer for ten minutes. Strain, add honey for taste and drink it. Alternatively chew some fresh ginger slices or add dry or fresh ginger to meals.

  • Green tea, when consumed daily can help to prevent problems with the blood and lowers the blood pressure. It also helps to improve metabolism which can aid in weight loss. Three cups a day is recommended and it may be mixed with other herbal teas such as liquorice root and anise for liver detoxifying benefits. Adding freshly squeezed lemon to green tea increases its DNA repairing catechins making it five times more powerful. Adding a spoonful of honey can make it more palatable for some but do not add sugar.

  • Hemp seeds are highly nutritious seeds that have powerful components which can lower the blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels in the blood and improve circulation. The normal daily consumption for general health should be about 42 grams (four heaped tablespoons) for an average sized adult. For larger than average people or to reduce the risk of a stroke it is advised that 55 grams (five to six heaped tablespoons) is consumed daily. Make sure that the hemp seeds are organic and have not been heat sterilised or hulled in order to gain the benefit of high nutrition from them. It has been reported that the human body ideally needs a balance of around 4:1 of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. Hemp seed is the only natural food that provides this perfect balance.

  • Kiwi fruits can reduce the plaque that sticks to arterial walls and is a rich source of vitamin C. Consume one kiwi fruit each day.

  • Liquorice root contains many components which can protect against strokes.

  • Octopus is an excellent source of taurine (a sulphurous amino acid) that helps reduce cholesterol and reduce the formation of blood clots in the body.

  • Oats should be used to thicken sauces instead of white flour that has been bleached in chlorine. Oats can help reduce cholesterol build-up. Psyllium husks are an excellent natural way to do the same plus they cleanse the intestines, relieve constipation and diarrhoea and help with digestion.

  • Oily fish are a rich source of healthy fatty acids which prevent artery-clogging plaque from forming and should be consumed at least twice a week.

  • Pomegranates have been proven to not only lower LDL cholesterol in the blood but also reduce existing plaque build-up on artery walls. Consume them fresh or juiced (pure without added sugar or sweeteners) daily for protection against strokes.

  • Red krill oil capsules taken daily can protect against strokes and provide essential fatty acids and other nutrients vital for health.

  • Red onions can help to lower LDL cholesterol levels naturally if consumed daily.

  • Seeds and cold pressed seed oils are protective against strokes especially chia, flax, hemp, sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Hemp seeds are a super food which is rich in fatty acids, minerals and all essential amino acids and has properties that invigorate circulation hence protecting against and helping with recovery from strokes.

  • Spices such as cardamom, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, ginger, nutmeg, paprika, peppercorns and turmeric thin the blood and prevent blood clots and arterial blockages and should be consumed on a daily basis. Consume half a teaspoon of one or more of these spices daily with meals or in teas to get the same effect as blood thinning medications but with additional nutritional benefits. Consuming an aromatic spicy meal such as a curry or chilli using these spices at least once a week can greatly reduce the risk of a stroke. Tree turmeric is also a powerful blood thinner and purifier. Curry powder and Garam masala are a combination of some of the above spices and are also beneficial to include in the diet.

  • White oak bark is a herb with powerful anti-inflammatory properties which can fortify and repair damaged blood vessels.

CAUTION: Blood thinning natural foods and spices should be consumed in moderation if taking blood thinning and anticoagulant medication such as 'Warfarin' as they will increase the effect and in certain circumstances, such as injury, can cause excess bleeding. Pregnant women should not consume blood thinning remedies during the first three months of pregnancy as they may cause miscarriage.

Selection of fruit and vegetables that can help to prevent strokes

Choose one of each of the six colours of the following plant foods to consume each day consisting of three or four vegetables and two or three fruits. At least one leafy green vegetable should always  be consumed on a daily basis. Only small amounts are required to provide the essential nutrients each one possesses and they can also be juiced. However, this will reduce the fibre intake so consume them complete whenever possible. Remember that many of the nutrients are richest or only present in the skin of fruits and vegetables so always avoid peeling wherever possible. Try to make sure they are organic when possible. Cooking destroys some nutrients so steaming or consuming raw is best whenever possible. Tomatoes are an exception.

  • Alfalfa

  • Algae (chlorella and spirulina)

  • Apples

  • Apricots

  • Artichoke

  • Asparagus

  • Aubergine

  • Avocado

  • Banana

  • Beetroot

  • Bell peppers

  • Black berries

  • Black currants

  • Blue berries

  • Bok choy

  • Broccoli

  • Brown rice

  • Brussel sprouts

  • Butternut squash

  • Cabbage

  • Cantaloupe

  • Cauliflower

  • Cherries

  • Chickweed

  • Chicory

  • Chilli peppers

  • Chives

  • Coconut

  • Collard greens

  • Coriander

  • Courgettes

  • Cranberries

  • Cress

  • Cucumber

  • Dates

  • Fenugreek

  • Figs

  • Garlic

  • Ginger

  • Goji berries

  • Guava

  • Horseradish

  • Kale

  • Kelp

  • Kiwifruit

  • Leeks

  • Lemons

  • Lettuce

  • Limes

  • Melon

  • Mango

  • Maqui berry

  • Melon

  • Mushrooms

  • Okra

  • Olives

  • Oranges

  • Papaya

  • Peaches

  • Pears

  • Pineapple

  • Plums

  • Potatoes

  • Pumpkin

  • Rampion

  • Raspberries

  • Rocket

  • Root vegetables

  • Rye

  • Seaweed

  • Soursop

  • Spinach

  • Strawberries

  • Tatsoi

  • Tangerines

  • Tomato

  • Watercress

  • Watermelon

More foods and beverages that can help 

 
  • Black strap molasses

  • Borage tea

  • Brine pickles

  • Buckwheat

  • Burdock root

  • Cocoa (raw organic)

  • Cranberry juice

  • Dandelion tea

  • Fennel tea

  • Honey

  • (use instead of sugar)
  • Himalayan pink salt crystals

  • Kimchi

  • Kombucha

  • Mint tea

  • Miso

  • Olive oil

  • Pine needle tea

  • Pumpkin seeds

  • Quinoa

  • Raisins

  • Rapeseed oil

  • Rice bran oil

  • Sauerkraut (brine)

  • Sea salt (unrefined pure)

  • Sesame oil

  • Sunflower seeds

  • Teff

NOTE: Diabetics should avoid black strap molasses and honey due to the insulin spike that they can cause which can lead to a stroke however, consuming these with protein foods can reduce the insulin spike.

Nature Cures daily health tonic

One easy way to take many of the natural remedies listed is to half fill a cup with warm water and then stir in the following ingredients:

  • One teaspoon honey

  • Half a teaspoon turmeric

  • One teaspoon of barley grass powder

  • A pinch of chilli powder

  • A sprinkle of ground peppercorns

  • One tablespoon of unpasteurised apple cider vinegar

  • Half the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon

Add the juice or powders of any of the other ingredients listed in this chapter as desired and drink this remedy immediately. It is best taken in the morning before consuming anything else.

Nutrients that can prevent strokes

There are many vital nutrients that can help to keep the blood flowing proficiently and reduce the risk of developing blood clots, damaged arteries, plaque build-up and strokes. Calcium cannot achieve its objectives unless phosphorous is also present in a proper balance. Too much phosphorous, though, can cause diarrhoea and calcification (hardening) of organs and soft tissue, including the arteries, and can interfere with the body's ability to use calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc. It is a matter of getting the balance right which is why supplementation is not advised. Natural foods that contain these minerals will never overdose the consumer with phosphorous. 

Nutrient supplements should not be taken as most will cause imbalances in  the system as they will not contain the various cofactor nutrients upon which each is intricately involved in varying amounts and often they are in forms that the body cannot readily absorb or have artificial additives which should also be avoided. See ‘The A-Z of Minerals’ for details about each one and the best natural food sources.

Nutrients with antioxidant properties, such as carotenoids, selenium, vitamin C, vitamin E and others, mentioned further on this page, can reduce free radical damage to the brain cells so it is recommended that the natural foods containing these protective components are added to the diet in order to help prevent and recover from strokes. Carotenoids are fat-soluble and will only be absorbed if taken with some oily foods such as avocado, fish, nut, seed or other plant oils.

ACEMANNAN

Acemannan is a compound found in the gel within the leaves of the aloe vera plant and is now known to have beneficial properties that can help to reduce  the risk of strokes due to its ability to improve vascular flow and help with the control of diabetes. Take one leaf of the aloe vera plant and split it to remove the gel inside and add to a blender with fruits of choice and drink once a day. Over consumption of aloe vera can stimulate increased bowel function so it is recommended to increase the intake gradually to avoid intestinal cramping.

ALLICIN

Allicin can help to reduce atherosclerosis and fat deposition, normalise the lipoprotein balance, decrease blood pressure, has anti-thrombotic and anti-inflammatory activities and functions as an antioxidant. Allicin is a protective component produced by chives, garlic, leeks, onions and spring onions when they are damaged therefore, when these vegetables are chopped they should be left for 10 minutes or so before consuming or cooking to enable the chemical reaction to take place which produces the allicin.

ANTHOXANTHINS

Anthoxanthins are water-soluble components which give the white/cream or red pigment colour to plant foods. Consuming foods rich in anthoxanthins can greatly reduce risk of a stroke.

Natural sources of anthoaxanthins

Bananas (just ripe), butter beans, butternut squash, cauliflower, celery, chestnuts, coconut, garlic, Jerusalem artichoke, leeks, macadamia nuts, mung beans, mushrooms, navy beans, nuts, onions, parsnip, pine nuts, potatoes, radishes, soya beans, spring onions and turnip.

ASTAXANTHIN

Astaxanthin is one of the most powerful antioxidants known to date. It acts as a regulator of blood pressure and blood clotting and helps with the breakdown and transportation of cholesterol and so can be very beneficial for those at risk of a stroke. It gives the red and pink colour to fresh water and ocean fish and the richest source is red krill oil. Take one capsule of krill oil every day.

NOTE: Farmed pink salmon is often coloured red artificially using a fungi and does not contain astaxanthin.

BETAINE

Betaine plays a role in preventing blood clots and regulating blood pressure and is therefore an important nutrient to help prevent strokes.

Natural sources of betaine in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Quinoa 630 mg

  • Spinach 577

  • Beetroot 256 mg

  • Rye flour (146 mg

  • Shellfish 144 mg

  • Kamut 113 mg

  • White fish 88mg

  • Bulgur wheat 83 mg

  • Wholegrain wheat flour 77mg

  • Barley 66mg

  • Sweet potato, sunflower seeds 35 mg

  • Oat flour 31 mg

  • Chicken breast 30 mg

  • Curry powder 29 mg

  • Chicken livers 21 mg

  • Veal 19 mg

  • Beef steak, venison, wild rabbit 18 mg

  • Basil (dried) 16 mg

  • Lamb 14 mg

  • Cashew nuts, mushrooms (Portobello), salmon 11 mg

  • Oregano, turkey, turmeric 10 mg

  • Duck, pork 8 mg

  • Cinnamon 4 mg

  • Ginger (ground powder) 3 mg

BROMELAIN

Bromelain is only found in fresh pineapples and can help to reduce the formation of blood clots and is therefore a useful addition to the diet for those at risk of a stroke. Tinned pineapple loses its bromelain due to the heat treatment process sued to seal the can.

BUTYRIC ACID

Butyric acid increases the metabolism, helps to prevent atherosclerosis,  lowers LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and regulates insulin levels. The bacteria in the intestines makes butyric acid naturally when fed high fibre foods such as beans, coconut, fruit, leafy vegetables, nuts, psyllium husks, sweet potatoes and other root vegetables and properly prepared whole grains because it comes from carbohydrate that the host cannot digest, such as cellulose and pectin. The richest natural source of butyric acid is found in butter.

CAROTENOIDS

Carotenoids provide the various colours in fruit and vegetables and act as antioxidants in the human body. This means they can protect the cells of the brain against damage from free radicals. Carotenoids such as such as lycopene found in red vegetables such as tomatoes has been found to reduce the risk of strokes. For more information and natural resources see carotenoids. These are fat-soluble so must be consumed with some oily food such as fish, nut, seed or plant oils or avocado in order to be absorbed.

CARVACROL

Carvacrol is an aromatic oil found in the herbs marjoram, oregano, pepperwort and thyme which is very effective in lowering blood pressure and hence provides some protection against strokes. It reduces the heart rate, mean arterial pressure and both the diastolic and systolic blood pressures. Use these herbs liberally in meals or teas to gain the benefits.

CATECHINS

Catechins are powerful antioxidant flavonoids that can help to prevent bleeding from small blood vessels and are therefore useful for preventing haemorrhagic strokes. Green tea is a rich source of catechins.

Other natural sources of catechins

Apples, apricots, berries, cherries, cider, cocoa beans, green tea, grapes, legumes, peaches, pears, persimmons fruit, pomegranates, strawberries and wine (red).

CHALCONES

Chalcones are a class of flavonoid compounds which are potent antioxidants that protect the body from free radical damage. They also help to regulate blood pressure and cholesterol levels and therefore help to prevent strokes. They also play a role in the synthesis of neurones and so can be useful in the recovery from stroke.

Natural sources of chalcones

Apples, ashitaba, astragalus, beans, cinnamon, citrus fruit (skins), cloves, green tea, hops, liquorice root, peas, potatoes, sunflower seeds and tomato skins.

COUMARINS

Coumarins are aromatic and potent antioxidants that can lower the blood pressure and prevent blood from clotting and are often used in anticoagulant medications.

Natural sources of coumarins

Alfalfa, ashitaba, celery, cleavers, cinnamon, clover, cnidium monnieri seeds, lemons, limes, lomatium, maqui berry, oranges, parsley and tangerines.

CREATINE

Creatine lowers levels of the amino acid homocysteine which is a marker of potential heart attacks and strokes and is neuro-protective as it increase the amount of energy available to the brain. It is primarily made by the body in the liver, kidneys and pancreas but can also come from the diet through the consumption of beef, oily fish, pork, rabbit, venison and wild game birds.

DEOXYBENZOINS

Deoxybenzoins are potent polyphenol antioxidants with the ability to relax arteries in the human body and can be found in liquorice root, red clover and rest harrow.

KAEMPFEROL

Kaempferol provides protection to the linings of the blood vessels, particularly against free radicals and also induces the increased production of nitric oxide, a substance that acts as a natural dilator and relaxant of the blood vessels allowing the blood vessels to rest decreasing the risk of hypertension and strokes.

Natural sources of kaempferol

Broccoli, capers, chia seeds, chives, cress, dill, fennel seeds, kale, leeks and turnip greens.

MAGNESIUM

Magnesium is a mineral that helps to promote ‘relaxed’ arteries and can make elimination of toxins easier on the body. Toxins can damage arteries and cause plaque build-up. Find the best natural food sources of magnesium here.

NASUNIN

Nasunin is a powerful antioxidant with free radical fighting properties that are particularly important for the health of brain tissue as it protect the lipids (fats) in brain cell membranes.. Aubergines (skin), purple radishes, red cabbage and red turnips contain nasunin.

NATTOKINASE

Nattokinase is a powerful anti-clotting enzyme that is effective in preventing strokes by normalising blood pressure and dissolving blood clots. It is extracted from a traditional Japanese soy cheese food called natto and has been used in as a medicine by the Japanese for hundreds of years.

NITRIC OXIDE

Nitric oxide increases the flow of blood to the heart and inhibits the build-up of plaque on the walls of the arteries. It stimulates blood vessels to dilate, prevents fats and cholesterol from depositing on blood vessel walls and inhibits the aggregation of platelets within vessels hence reducing the risk of a stroke occurring. Watermelon is rich in the amino acid L-citrulline which is one of the best natural compounds to increase nitric oxide levels in the body and has been proven by many studies. Co-enzyme Q10 also boosts the production of nitric oxide and is often deficient in individuals taking medications such as metformin for diabetes and statins to lower cholesterol.

For the body to produce nitric oxide a selection of the following natural foods need to be consumed on a regular basis:

Beef, beetroot, black tea, broccoli, brown rice, cayenne pepper, cocoa (raw), collard greens, cranberries, garlic, kale, nuts, onions, organ meats, peanuts, pheasant, pine nuts, pistachio nuts, pork, pumpkin seeds, pomegranate, salmon (wild), sesame seeds, shellfish, spinach, walnuts and watermelon.

Highest sources of Coenzyme Q10 in micrograms per 100 gram

  • Venison 158 µg

  • Beef heart 113 µg

  • Soybean oil 92 µg

  • Rapeseed oil 65 µg

  • Sardines 64 µg

  • Mackerel 43 µg

  • Beef liver 39 µg

  • Beef 31 – 37 µg

  • Sesame oil 32 µg

  • Soybeans 30 µg

  • Peanuts 27 µg

  • Cuttlefish 24 µg

  • Sesame seeds 23 µg

  • Chicken 14 - 21 µg

  • Mackerel 21 µg

  • Pistachios 20 µg

  • Walnuts 19 µg

  • Soybeans (dried) 19 µg

  • Adzuki beans, hazelnuts 17 µg

  • Tuna fish (tinned), herring 16 µg

  • Pollack, almonds 14 µg

  • Eel 11 µg

  • Spinach 10 µg

  • Perilla leaves 10 µg

  • Broccoli, rainbow trout 9 µg

  • Chestnuts 6 µg

  • Rice bran 6 µg

  • Sunflower oil, olive oil, safflower oil, sweet potato, wheat germ 4 µg

  • Garlic, peas, radish leaves,  3 µg

  • Aubergine, beans, bell peppers, blackcurrants, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cheese, eggs, yoghurt 2 µg

OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS

Omega-3 fatty acids benefit the cardiovascular system by helping to prevent erratic heart rhythms, making blood less likely to clot inside arteries and improving the ratio of good (HDL) cholesterol to potentially harmful (LDL) cholesterol. Omega-3 fatty acids also reduce inflammation, which is a key component in the processes that turn cholesterol into artery-clogging plaques. Docosahexaenoic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid that is a primary structural component of the human brain and cerebral cortex and can also reduce triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol) levels in the blood.

It also acts as a regulator of blood pressure and blood clotting (omega-6 encourages blood clot formation, whereas omega-3 oil reduces clotting) and is therefore a necessary component to prevent strokes. It can be synthesised by the body from alpha-linolenic acid which is an omega-3 fatty acid found in plants or obtained directly from foods from the oceans such as algae, oily fish and shellfish. For natural food sources of alpha-linolenic acid see above.

PHYTOSTEROLS

Phytosterols are plant-derived compounds that inhibit the intestinal absorption of cholesterol which may reduce the risk of a stroke. For natural sources click here.

POTASSIUM

Potassium is responsible for regulating bodily fluids which prevents dehydration and reduces the risk of a stroke. It also helps the kidneys in detoxification of blood and acts as an alkalising agent in keeping a proper acid-alkaline balance in the blood and tissues. Potassium, like many other minerals, can be lacking in the diet due to intense farming techniques. Intensive physical activity, old age, drinking alcohol and taking some medications, especially diuretics. Click here for the best natural sources. Potassium is a vasodilator meaning it dilates the blood vessels. When vessels are dilated they become relaxed and this then also lowers the blood pressure throughout the body and therefore clots are less likely to form.

SELENIUM

Selenium slows down ageing and hardening of tissues through oxidation. It is an important antioxidant that plays a role in the body's utilisation of oxygen and cases of heart disease and strokes are higher in people with diminished selenium levels. It also has a role in detoxifying poisonous phenols, acetaldehyde, chlorine, formaldehyde and hydrocarbons all of which can damage arteries and lead to blockages. Click here for the best natural food sources.

SERRAPEPTASE

Serrapeptase is an enzyme produced by the silkworm that eats away at the cocoon when the moth is ready to emerge. In the human body, as a supplement it, has been found to digest non-living tissues such as dead cells, blood clots, fatty deposits and plaque that forms in the arteries which helps to prevent strokes. It is useful because it does not thin the blood and cause bleeding as anticoagulant medications can.

VANADIUM

Vanadium has a positive effect on LDL  cholesterol levels. Like insulin, vanadium is believed to help shuttle nutrients, like amino acids and blood sugar, into muscle cells. Vanadium deficiency can lead to high cholesterol and triglyceride levels leading to heart disease and strokes. Click here for natural food sources.

VITAMIN B COMPLEX

Sufficient levels of the B complex of vitamins are crucial when trying to reduce the risk of a stroke as they are involved in many processes such as lowering blood cholesterol and protecting and repairing the structures within the body such as the blood vessels in the brain. Antibiotics and many other medications block B vitamins from being absorbed and manufactured by the beneficial bacteria in the intestines because antibiotics kill them too. Stress and intense exercise uses up all nutrients (especially the B-group vitamins and their co-factors) at a much faster rate and the consumption of alcohol or coffee blocks the absorption of B vitamins.

 

  • Vitamin B1 (thiamine) enhances circulation and helps with blood formation. Consuming foods rich in vitamin B1 is especially important for those that are doing extra exercise to try to lower their cholesterol levels and lose weight as it is readily lost due to excessive perspiration and fluid loss. Prolonged diarrhoea may impair the body's ability to absorb vitamin B1 and severe liver disease also impairs its use. High blood pressure can also cause a deficiency of this vital nutrient.

 

  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) has many important roles in the body including helping to reduce homocysteine levels and therefore reducing the risk of a stroke. Riboflavin is manufactured industrially and used as a yellow colouring and as vitamin fortification of many food such as cereals. However, it is difficult to incorporate into most foods due to poor solubility and it is destroyed immediately upon exposure to light. Therefore it is important to consume natural foods rich in this vitamin which can be found on p 969.

 

  • Vitamin B3 (niacin) helps reduce LDL cholesterol levels in the blood as well as control blood sugar levels and is also required for proper circulation and normal secretion of bile and stomach fluids. It is therefore an important nutrient to help prevent strokes and the body can manufacture it from the amino acid tryptophan (p 963) and vitamin B6 (p 972). More information and natural sources of vitamin B3 can be found on p 970.

 

  • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) has many important roles in the body and deficiency of this vitamin can cause adverse biochemical changes including increased insulin sensitivity, lowered HDL blood cholesterol and a decreased level of potassium in the blood. Pantothenic acid is synthesised by bacterial flora in the intestines but can also be gained from the diet. To find out more and natural sources see p 971.

 

  • Vitamin B7 (biotin) deficiency can lead to raised cholesterol levels which will increase the risk of a stroke. Other nutrients that are required for the effective use of vitamin B7 are chromium (p 1003), magnesium p 1014), manganese (p 1015) and vitamins B2, B3, B5, B6, B9 and B12.

 

  • Vitamin B8 (inositol) is a water-soluble fatty lipid that is required by the body for the formation of healthy cells. Vitamin B8 is closely related to choline and the two work together to make neurotransmitters and the fatty substances for cell membranes, as well as helping to metabolise and move out fats from the liver. It also plays a part in helping to lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels and therefore can reduce the risk of a stroke.

 

  • Vitamin B15 (pangamic acid) has been shown to lower blood cholesterol, improve circulation and general oxygenation of cells and tissues and is helpful for arteriosclerosis and high blood pressure. It also helps the liver detoxify the body.

Click here for highest natural sources of all the B vitamins.

VITAMIN C

Vitamin C assists in the prevention of bruising, blood clotting and strengthens the walls of the capillaries. It also helps reduce cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and prevents arteriosclerosis from developing. It works best when accompanied by foods rich in rutin and hesperidin. Prolonged deficiency of vitamin A leads to the rapid loss of vitamin C and tobacco smoking can significantly reduce vitamin C levels in the body. Vitamin C increases iron uptake, which Vitamin E inhibits. Vitamin C lowers manganese and zinc absorption, while vitamin E helps to increase it. As a result, a very high intake of vitamin C will require an equally high intake of vitamin E to maintain the same ratio and balance. For more details and the richest natural sources see vitamin C  and vitamin E.

VITAMIN D

Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble secosteroids responsible for the intestinal absorption of calcium and helps to regulate the amount of phosphorus and magnesium in the body. It is also partly responsible for maintaining a healthy heart and nervous system and assists in the normal clotting of blood. Many individuals, especially those living in the northern hemisphere, are deficient in vitamin D which can add to the risk of a stroke.

Plaque on the artery walls are deposits made of fat, cholesterol and calcium. High levels of calcium in the blood is perhaps more worrying than high levels of cholesterol and lowering cholesterol levels may cause less calcium to be absorbed from the blood as less vitamin D may be produced from the lower amount of cholesterol which is vital to this process. Vitamin D deficiency is common and will lead to higher levels of calcium in the blood. Vitamin D deficiency is a condition which those that avoid the sun, use sunscreens, cover up or stay indoors are particularly prone to. Just 10-15 minutes of midday sunshine on the skin can provide all that is required. The suns action on the skin cannot work through windows. Extra Vitamin D must be consumed during the winter months.

Highest sources of vitamin D per serving listed

  • Krill oil - 1 teaspoon: 1000 IU

  • Eel - 85 g or 3 oz: 792 IU

  • Maitake mushrooms - 70 g: 786 IU

  • Rainbow trout - 85 g or 3 oz: 540 IU

  • Cod liver oil - 1 teaspoon: 440 IU

  • Mackerel - 85 g or 3 oz: 400 IU

  • Salmon - 85 g or 3 oz: 400 IU

  • Halibut - 85 g or 3 oz: 196 IU

  • Tuna - 85 g or 3 oz: 228 IU

  • Sardines - 85 g or 3 oz: 164 IU

  • Chanterelle mushrooms - 85 g or 3 oz: 155 IU

  • Raw milk - 1 glass or 8 oz: 98 IU

  • Egg yolk - 1 large: 41 IU

  • Caviar - 28g or 1 oz: 33 IU

  • Hemp seeds - 100 g or 3.5 oz: 22 IU

  • Portabella mushrooms - 85 g or 3 oz: 6 IU

NOTE: One IU is the biological equivalent of 0.3 μg or 0.3 micrograms.

VITAMIN E

Vitamin E contains antiplatelet and anticoagulant properties that help prevent blood clots. It inhibits platelet aggregation and antagonises the effects of clotting factors which helps to thin the blood. Vitamin E can reduce the risk of venous thromboembolism and those with risk factors, a prior history or genetic predisposition to strokes may particularly benefit from making sure they consume extra foods rich in this nutrient which can be found here.

VITAMIN K2

There are three kinds of vitamin K all of which have different roles in the body. The important one for stroke prevention is vitamin K2 (menaquinone) as it is essential for regulating proteins in the body that direct calcium to the bones and keep it out of the arterial walls and organs where it can do harm. Butter, cheese, egg yolk, chicken breast, chicken livers and Natto are rich sources of vitamin K2.

VITAMIN P

Vitamin P is a group of bioflavonoids that are particularly essential for individuals at risk of a stroke as they are made up of components which strengthen the capillaries (blood vessels) and regulate their permeability. They do this by assisting vitamin C in keeping collagen, the intercellular "cement" in a  healthy condition. They also promote circulation and are useful for lowering blood cholesterol levels. The term bioflavonoids refers to many different components and these include anthocyanins, apigenin, hesperin, hesperidin, eriodictyol, quercetin, quercertrin and rutin. When blood supply returns to the brain, after a stroke, injury to the tissues can occur. Bioflavonoids can reduce oxidative damage to organ cells during this process.

Hesperidin works as an antioxidant which reduces inflammation in the body, improves the health of capillaries by reducing the capillary permeability and is good for treating varicose veins. It also lowers cholesterol.

Rutin has anti-thrombotic properties by preventing venous clots that can cause deep-vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolisms and strokes. Rutin acts on the circulatory system to strengthen blood vessels especially the tiny capillaries in the eyes. Foods rich in rutin, in conjunction with foods rich in vitamin E, benefit people suffering from chronic venous insufficiency where leg veins cannot pump enough blood back to the heart and those at risk of having a stroke. Rutin also works better in conjunction with foods rich in vitamin C and hesperidin.

Bioflavonoids are especially concentrated in the white pith underneath the peel of citrus fruits, in blue, red and purple fruits and vegetables and in green leafy vegetables. Apples (especially the peel), apricots, asparagus, buckwheat (especially the leaves), capers, cherries, citrus fruits and prunes are the richest sources of bioflavonoids.

Daily Morning Liver Cleanser

All these five ingredients together, taken in a glass of warm water first thing in the morning, will cleanse and detoxify the liver and help it to remove toxins, excess cholesterol and improve metabolism.

Lemon or lime juice, turmeric, cayenne pepper, apple cider vinegar, pure honey

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"Nature cures not the physician..." Hippocrates 460 BC

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