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Healthy Eating, Blood Pressure and Sunshine

Notes from the Neuro Café on 31st March 2021.

After one of the participants asked for some recommendations for some healthy breakfast options in our WhatsApp social group we decided to touch on the topic of healthy eating.

Healthy Eating

5 healthy eating tips to help reduce the risk of stroke:

1. Fruit and vegetables should make up a third of your daily diet. Eat at least five portions a day.

2. Starchy foods should make up another third of your daily diet. Go for more wholegrains in foods like brown rice and wholegrain bread and breakfast cereals.

3. Aim to eat some protein every day. Healthy sources of protein can be found in fish, pulses, nuts and seeds, lean meat and meat alternatives like tofu and textured vegetable protein.

4. Cut down on full-fat milk, cream and cheese, fatty meat, processed meats, and solid fats like butter and margarine.

5. Limit salt to a teaspoon day (or 6g). This includes hidden salt in ready-made and processed foods.

Fruit and Vegetables

It is important that we try to eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables daily. These can come from many different sources and it is favourable to have a wide variety of different fruits and vegetables.

Limit your amount of fruit juices. A glass of fruit juice (150ml) counts as a maximum of one daily portion.

Be careful with canned fruit and veg, they can count towards your 5 a day but choose fruit in juice rather than syrup, and vegetables in water without salt or sugar.

Frozen fruit and vegetables are full of the same nutrients and fibre as fresh.

Top tips: add some frozen berries to morning porridge.


Potassium can help prevent high blood pressure due to its close relationship with sodium in the body. Eating fruit and veg will help increase your potassium levels naturally. Some potassium rich foods include bananas, nuts, mushrooms and potatoes.

Over-the-counter supplements should only be taken if prescribed by a medical professional as they can be harmful.


Fibre is vital for lowering cholesterol, keeping blood sugar levels stable, and managing your weight. Adults should aim to eat 30g of fibre every day.

Soluble fibre delays the time it takes for you to digest food, making you feel fuller for longer. One kind of soluble fibre is beta-glucan, which is found in grains like oats, barley and rye.

Insoluble fibre shortens the time it takes for food to move through the bowel and can also improve the balance of good bacteria in the gut.

Top tips: Eat the skin of fruit and vegetables and use wholegrain varieties of pasta and bread.


Wholegrains are linked to a lower risk of stroke. They can also help us avoid type 2 diabetes, heart disease and weight gain. Wholegrains are a good source of B- vitamins and folic acid, as well as both types of fibre.

Top tips: Try brown rice instead of white, brown pasta and whole wheat couscous. Look for wholegrain breakfast cereals. Choose wholegrain bread, and try bread made with rye and other grains. Oats can help lower cholesterol.

Blood Pressure

We discussed how it is imported to check your blood pressure regularly. Some participants check their blood pressure twice daily and keep a log. It was discussed how healthy lifestyle changes can cause a change in blood pressure which might decrease a person’s reliance on medication to regulate blood pressure. However, this is a decision that your doctor will make and medication should never be adjusted without your doctor's approval.


After have a few good days of weather lots of our members were able to go to their local parks and gardens to enjoy the sunshine. Some did admit to doing more sunbathing than exercise while they were there.

With the change in restrictions, which now allows groups of 6 to meet in an outdoor space, and the return of outdoor sports, some of our members were able to meet some friends and restart some of their exercise groups such as the Nordic walking groups.

The Neuro Café will run again at the usual time of 10-10:45am on Wednesday 6th April.

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