Volume 5, Issue 7
February 16, 2012

The tasty treat that lowers
stroke risk by 29%

Last week, I showed you how eating too much is the primary risk factor in stroke. It doesn’t matter what your weight is, eating too much on a daily basis significantly increases your risk having a stroke.

In that alert, I told you about the work of Dr. Graeme J. Hankey. In his study, he found something very interesting regarding many of the popular vitamins on the market. He said that while “overnutrition increases the risk of stroke, reliable evidence suggests that dietary supplementation with antioxidant vitamins, B vitamins, and calcium does not reduce the risk of stroke.”

That doesn’t surprise me. There are better supplements for reducing stroke risk, such as Natto, which reduces the fibrinogen in your arteries that can cause clots. And clots are a primary cause of stroke.

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The study did find that certain foods can definitely increase your risk of having a stroke. The two biggest culprits are meat and sugar. Even one serving of meat every day can increase your risk by 24% over those who don’t eat meat. And drinking low-fat milk has a lower risk of stroke than drinking regular milk.

While these foods can raise your risk, Dr. Hankey found that other foods can reduce your risk. So eating less is a key to preventing stroke. But getting your calories from the right foods can reduce your risk even more.

Dr. Hankey’s review revealed the following effects of individual foods and beverages on the risk of stroke. Eating fish three times a day can lower your risk by 6%. Eating fruits and vegetables five times a day will lower your risk by 26%. Drinking three to four cups of coffee per day reduces your risk by 17%. And drinking more than three cups per day of tea puts you at a 21% lower risk.

However, there was one food that lowered your risk more than all of these healthful foods. And this is my favorite. It’s a real treat that I’ve written about before. What could possibly lower your stroke risk more than fruits and vegetables?

The answer may shock you. Eating a large amount of chocolate yields a whopping 29% lower risk! You read that right. Other studies have confirmed this finding. It turns out that eating chocolate is one of the healthiest “bad” habits you can have. Yes, eating too much can load you up on sugar, so I still suggest you eat it in moderation. But this study, and others I’ve told you about in the past, suggest the cocoa actually helps your body overcome the deleterious effects of the sugar to some degree.

So when you cut back on the number of calories you eat in a day, make sure you still indulge in some chocolate. Let that be your treat — and not other candies, cookies, cakes, and ice cream. Chocolate can help you avoid a stroke, heart disease, and even diabetes. These other desserts will increase your risk for all of the above.

Finding your Real Cures,

Frank Shallenberger, MD

REF: Hankey, G.J. “Nutrition and the risk of stroke.” Lancet Neurol. 2012 Jan;11(1):66-81.

Copyright 2012 Soundview Publishing, LLC.

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