Stroke: Eat less sodium foods to reduce your risk, from prawns to cottage cheese

It may not always be possible to prevent strokes, though there are some risk factors that you may be able to change. You can significantly reduce your risk of having a stroke by having a healthy diet with a reduction in sodium being key.

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is cut-off.

In the UK, someone has a stroke every five minutes, says the charity Stroke Association.

The same charity also warned that around 100,000 people a year experience a stroke.

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The NHS adds that an unhealthy diet can increase your chances of having a stroke because it may lead to an increase in your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

It states: “A low-fat, high-fibre diet is usually recommended, including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and wholegrains.

“Ensuring a balance in your diet is important. Do not eat too much of any single food, particularly foods high in salt and processed foods.”

Adopting a healthy lifestyle is one of the best steps a person can take to prevent a stroke.

Harvard Medical School says: “High blood pressure is a huge factor, doubling or even quadrupling your stroke risk if it is not controlled. High blood pressure is the biggest contributor to the risk of stroke in both men and women.”

To achieve this, it says you may need to reduce the salt in your diet, “ideally to no more than 1,500 milligrams a day (about a half teaspoon)”.

According to Healthline, 13 foods with surprisingly high sodium include:

  • Prawns
  • Soup
  • Ham
  • Cottage cheese
  • Salad dressing
  • Pizza
  • Sandwiches
  • Salami
  • Pretzels
  • Pickles
  • Bagels
  • Frozen meals
  • Baked beans.


The main stroke symptoms include changes to the face. Your face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have drooped.

Signs may also occur on the arms – “the person may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in one arm”, says the NHS.

Their speech may be slurred or garbled, “or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake” and “they may also have problems understanding what you’re saying to them”, adds the health body.

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