Stroke is the fourth leading cause of mortality in the United States, yet it is 80% preventable by addressing lifestyle factors including nutrition. Evaluating the impact of nutrition at the food group and dietary pattern level will provide greater insight into the role of nutrition in stroke. For this purpose, a review of the literature was conducted using the PubMed, Web of Science, and CINAHL Plus online databases. While fruits, vegetables, and soy demonstrated a protective effect, variable findings were observed for fish, animal products, and whole grains. Adherence to DASH, Mediterranean, and prudent dietary patterns reduced the risk of stroke, whereas the Western dietary pattern was associated with increased stroke risk. Low-fat diet was not found to have a protective effect. Additional epidemiological evidence is needed to elucidate the impact of specific dietary patterns and food groups on stroke. Future research should consider developing dietary recommendations for stroke prevention, which are based on clinical trials and have an emphasis on food groups and dietary patterns that are palatable to the general public.
© 2012 International Life Sciences Institute.