Besides minimizing common risk factors such as smoking and unhealthy stress, you can help to prevent a stroke by adding magnesium-rich foods to your grocery cart. Researchers at the Swedish Karolinska Institute found that the risk for ischemic stroke – the most common type of stroke in older people, which occurs when a clot blocks a blood vessel in the brain – was reduced by 9 percent for each additional 100 milligrams of magnesium a person consumed each day. For any type of stroke, adding 100 milligrams of magnesium reduced the risk by 8 percent. It is not known exactly how magnesium reduces the risk of stroke, but the researchers suggest that the mineral’s benefits may be related to its ability to lower blood pressure.
Next time you are at the grocery or farmer’s market, buy these magnesium-rich foods:
- Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and collard greens, as well as broccoli
- Nuts and seeds. Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of magnesium, and peanuts, almonds and cashews are good nut choices
- Whole grain products such as brown rice, oat bran cereal and whole grain breads
- Beans. Black beans are a particularly good source, providing 120 mg in one cup
- Fish. Halibut, oysters and scallops are all good sources of magnesium. Choose sustainably raised when possible
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