A very important warning: these are not a substitution for medical care. If you suspect you are having or have suffered a stroke, call 911 immediately! These supplements are meant to complement, not replace, traditional Western medicine. Talk with your doctor before taking any of these, and bring up any concerns about how they interact with other medications you are taking.
Green Tea Green Tea offers flavonoids and catechins, excellent antioxidants that increase heart and blood vessel health and can fight off atherosclerosis, one of the main contributing factors to a stroke. It’s recommended to reach for decaffeinated teas, as the caffeine might raise blood pressure. Also try extracts or pills; a good beginner’s dose is 300 to 500 milligrams. In some rare cases, the trace amounts of caffeine in decaffeinated green tea may cause insomnia, raised blood pressure, and a faster heartbeat.
Turmeric Curcumin is one of the chemicals that gives turmeric its distinctive taste. It lowers cholesterol, making plaque less likely, and dilates the blood vessels which improves overall blood flow. Clinical trials suggest it may help prevent a stroke from happening, and protect and regenerate brain cells that have already been damaged. High doses increase the risk of kidney stones and may upset the stomach. Due to its properties, it may interfere with diabetes medications, antacids, and blood thinners. Talk to your doctor about how it is interacting with your current medications. Garlic This common household food isn’t just tasty, it offers a lot of health benefits.
Garlic can help prevent ischemic strokes by lowering blood pressure, lowering cholesterol levels, and acting as an anticoagulant to stop clots before they start. Cooked, raw, or in pill form: all three offer health benefits. Garlic is very well tolerated; outside of the rare allergy, people may have problems with breath or skin smelling, or minor digestive upset if it’s taken in very high quantities. Because it is an anticoagulant, don’t take it with other pills such as aspirin. Don’t take it if you have had a hemorrhagic stroke. Cayenne Pepper This spice improves circulation and heart function safely, without raising blood pressure. It may be difficult to eat enough sprinkled on food for its benefits; consider taking it in pills. Possible problems include tingling, itching and warm wherever the pepper touches the skin, dry mouth, and an upset stomach. Ginger This flavorful root, common in Asian cooking, can decrease cholesterol, boost circulation, and stop excessive blood clotting. Like with garlic, you can cook it, make a tea, eat it raw, or take it in capsules. It may cause digestive issues in a few people. Just as with garlic, don’t take it with other anticoagulant medications without your doctor’s approval.