Strokes

Constant high blood pressure has the ability to weaken blood vessels, which can eventually rupture and haemorrhage (aneurysm) and this can kill nerve cells in the brain. Similarly, a blood clot (thrombus) or the detached fibrous cap of an arterial plaque (embolism) may cause a blockage in the brain. The outcome can be loss of speech, memory or movement or, frequently, death. The higher the blood pressure the higher the risk of strokes, and pressures at the top of the range can increase that risk ten-fold (WHO). All the advantages of a vegetarian diet in reducing blood pressure apply equally to reducing the risk of strokes. Just eating five or more servings of fresh fruit and veg a day reduces the risk of stroke by 26 per cent (149).