Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Stroke Prevention -- Brain Friendly Folate

From the Realage tip of the day for August 29, 2005:

Brain Friendly Folate

Protect your brain by kicking up your folate intake.

Adequate folate intake appears to protect against hemorrhagic stroke, a condition that causes bleeding in the brain. Hemorrhagic stroke is a less common type of stroke than ischemic stroke, which is caused by a blood clot-blocked artery. Protect your brain by packing your side dishes with folate-rich asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and artichokes.

RealAge Benefit: Getting a total of 700 micrograms of folate per day in food and supplements can make your RealAge as much as 1.2 years younger.

Hemorrhagic strokes, which account for 17 percent of all stroke cases, are less common than ischemic strokes. A recent study reveals a link between high blood levels of folate and decreased risk of hemorrhagic stroke. Folate also helps protect blood vessels by lowering homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is an amino acid that increases the risk of atherosclerosis and stroke when found in high levels in the blood. Researchers speculate that folate's favorable effects on blood vessels may extend beyond lowering homocysteine, but more research is needed to explore other potential benefits. In addition to asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and artichokes, other good sources of folate include orange juice, fortified whole-grain breads and cereals, and black-eyed peas. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate found in fortified foods and supplements. Controlling high blood pressure, getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day, and reducing your weight and cholesterol, if you need to, also may help reduce stroke risk.

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