Hello House of Buckle Blog readers! I hope you are having a great spring, wherever you live! What an awesome time of year! I also hope you are still staying strong in your New Year Resolutions!

May is upon us and this month is national American Stroke Awareness Month. I have some thoughts I wanted to share regarding stroke and some natural ways you can potentially aid and/or prevent stroke. Hopefully you will find this information helpful and will provide some natural options that you can try that may be very beneficial to you. With that, let’s talk about stroke. Before we get to the natural options for stroke prevention/recovery we need to take a second and make sure we know what a stroke is exactly.

Stroke is a disease that affects arteries that lead to the brain. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel (that provides the brain with oxygen and other nutrients) ruptures or is blocked by a blood clot. Without blood, the brain cannot function properly. This is a serious situation that can lead to either disability or death.

Did you know:

  • Stroke is the #5 cause of death in the United States
  • Stroke is the #1 leading cause of disability in the United States

There are a whole host of things that can be done via modern medicine to help with both stroke prevention and more specifically, stroke recovery. For those interested in natural stroke prevention and/or recovery, there are a number of things you can do as well. And I want to be clear, I am calling the natural options “complementary”, as in, these are not meant to replace modern medical help. But they can assist and be valuable aids and even lesson the medical treatment time window. I also want to call out that the age old adage, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and always the very best route and so I want to really stress the natural options in light of prevention especially.

There are a number of factors that contribute to stroke that are not controllable (age, gender, race, and family history).

There are also factors that contribute to stroke that are controllable:

  • Smoking
  • Lack of physical exercise
  • Alcohol/drug use
  • Depression
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Poor diet

The above list are factors that contribute to stroke and are very much CONTROLLABLE. So when talking natural prevention, start here. Take a moment and look at each bullet point and make a personal assessment. Maybe its time to make some life changes.

Clearly taking actions such as stopping smoking, starting a regular fitness program, limiting use of alcohol, and eating better (which will also help blood pressure and cholesterol levels) are GREAT PLACES TO START. And bonus: not only will this help in stroke prevention, it can also help in prevention of a LOT of things (cancer, diabetes, etc.). If you are struggling with stress and even depression, physical exercise can help this as will things like massage, aromatherapy, etc. And let me also mention the very controllable natural option of getting enough sleep!

In addition to making some basic life changes, there are some herbal supplements and vitamins/nutrients that you can also incorporate into your diet that may be very beneficial:

Herbs that can help with stroke prevention and/or recovery:

  • Garlic: can prevent blood clotting
  • Turmeric: may help prevent blockages and lower cholesterol
  • Ashwagandha/Indian Ginseng: may be used to both prevent and/or help stroke recovery due to antioxidant abilities
  • Gingko Biloba: may benefit cognitive functioning after stroke, when taken daily with aspirin by helping blood supply to the brain

There are also a list of vitamins that can be beneficial:

  • Vitamin C: aids in repairing blood vessels damage
  • Vitamin D: low vitamin D levels are associated with increased risk of artery-blocking strokes
  • Magnesium: this mineral may lower blood pressure
  • Folic Acid/Vitamin B-6 and B-12: These could help lower levels of the amino acid homocysteine, which is linked to increased stroke risk

My suggestion always is to talk to your doctor first before taking any herbs/natural supplements. And I want to say again, the natural options listed above should be seen as complimentary to your doctor’s recommended medical advice. The best place to start is by examining your lifestyle and make an action plan on the controllable things (diet, fitness, smoking/alcohol use). From there you can cut in the vitamins and herbs from the list above. And I would do all of this under the supervision of your doctor.

Until next time, have a great day and remember, your best wealth is your health!