Stroke, particularly ischemic stroke, has a major impact on public health due to its high incidence, prevalence and rate of subsequent disability in Italy as in most industrialised countries. Apart from age, many modifiable factors, such as hypertension, smoking, diabetes, dyslipidemia, obesity, physical inactivity, alcohol abuse and hyperhomocysteinemia, have been recognised as playing a role in the pathogenesis of this disease. While appropriate pharmacological therapy has proven effective in the prevention of stroke in particular categories of patients, most of the above mentioned predisposing conditions are amenable to be affected by nutrition. Unequivocal demonstration of a protective or adverse role of single foods and nutrients against the risk of stroke has been however difficult to achieve due to confounding by biological variability, methodological inadequacies in the assessment of individual nutritional habits and difficulty to carry out long-term randomised controlled trials in the nutritional area. Notwithstanding, in several cases, causal relationships could be inferred from case-control and cohort studies in the presence of plausible and reproducible associations, evidence of dose-dependent effects and consistency in the results of different studies. The aim of this paper was to review present knowledge and highlight limitations and future perspectives about the role of nutrition in the prevention of ischemic stroke.
- Ischemic stroke
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Food Science
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism