A stroke is much like what a heart attack is to the heart, but it occurs in the brain. A stroke involves the sudden interruption of blood flow and oxygen to areas in the brain and can cause brain damage and loss of function and may cause symptoms such as paralysis, numbness or weakness often affecting one side of the body, confusion, dizziness, speech problems, and loss of vision.

There are two main types of strokes: ischemic and hemorrhagic. Ischemic strokes are by far the more common type, and occur when a blood clot or plaque (protein, cholesterol, and material) deposit blocks an artery supplying blood to the brain. A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when an artery in the brain bursts, causing blood to flow into the surrounding tissue.


  • age
  • weight
  • diabetes
  • high cholesterol
  • family history
  • smoking
  • stress
  • high blood pressure
  • physical inactivity

Ask a is a general dietary and lifestyle advice site for self limiting conditions. In order to give a well informed diagnosis and treatment to your individual condition a full naturopathic consultation is required. We are able however to provide you with general advice to help improve the health of your cardiovascular system. I suggest making an appointment with a Healthcare practitioner who can give you further advice and support


  • Increase foods which contain Oligomeric Procyanidins (OPC’s) such as blueberries, grapes, bilberry’s, cranberries, pine bark, dark chocolate and red wine
  • Increase foods to improve circulation such as anti-oxidant rich foods – blueberries, green tea, grapes, berries, pineapples, chillies, dark chocolate, garlic, turmeric, fish, ginger and olive oil
  • Ensure that you are drinking sufficient amounts of water (at least 2 litres/ day) as dehydration can cause the tissues to hold onto excessive amounts of fluids.In addition, aim for a healthy lifestyle with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, quality organic dairy products, a wide range of quality protein sources in your diet such as legumes, nuts and seeds
  • Use herbs in cooking which help the circulation such as Chilli, Garlic, Paprika, Onion, Thyme, Ginger and Turmeric


  • Avoid smoking as cigarettes dramatically decrease blood circulation and contribute to Vitamin C and Bioflavinoid deficiencies
  • Get your cholesterol levels in check. If you have high cholesterol this will contribute to sticky blood and plaque formation increasing the risks of cardiovascular diseases
  • Manage stress levels by practicing yoga, meditation, breathing exercises or be more active. Take a formulation to support the nervous system which contains Magnesium, B Vitamins or herbs such as Chamomile, Lemon Balm, Passionflower, Magnolia or Sacred Basil
  • Avoid alcohol and smoking as these dramatically reduce peripheral circulation
  • Consider loosing some weight if you are carrying any extra kilograms. Being overweight or unfit causes the cardiovascular system (especially the heart muscle) to work overtime which often places an extra strain on circulation
  • Begin an exercise regime to improve circulation, removal of wastes, oxygenate the blood, encourage general wellbeing and break down congestion which may contribute to sluggish circulation
  • Acupuncture may be of assistance to improve the energetics of the cardiovascular system


  • Bilberry, Gotu Kola, Gingko, Bacopa and Dan Shen, Hawthorn, Garlic, Grape seeds are all herbs which support circulation to the peripheries, strengthen the capillaries and heart, decrease venous congestion and increase venous circulation
  • Fish oil contains essential fatty acids which are imperative to the health of the cardiovascular system
  • Zinc, Vitamin C and bioflavinoids may help to strengthen the walls of the capillaries and veins to decrease the pooling of blood in the lower extremities
  • The nutrient CoQ10 is important for cardiovascular health, especially if you suffer from high cholesterol, high blood pressure or are currently taking a Statin pharmaceutical for high cholesterol levels. CoQ10 has an effect on improving circulation and oxygenation
  • Vitamin E is an antioxidant for cardiovascular health, a blood thinner, improves circulation and is also an anti-inflammatory