Stroke Awareness and Prevention

Roasted Carrot, White Bean and Almond Dip

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

May is National Stroke Awareness Month. It’s likely you, or someone else in your orbit has been impacted by a stroke. It is the number one cause of adult disability in the U.S.A. and the 5th leading cause of death (1).

What is a stroke? Per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, stroke is when something blocks the delivery of oxygen-rich blood to the brain. Brain cells deprived of oxygen die within minutes. 

There are two main types:

1. Ischemic Strokes are the most common (about 80% of strokes) and occur when a blood clot or other particles (such as plaque) block vessels to the brain.

Research (2) indicates that 10 modifiable risk factors account for 90% of the risk of ischemic strokes:  

  • Hypertension
  • current smoking
  • waist-to-hip ratio
  • diet
  • regular physical activity
  • diabetes mellitus
  • binge alcohol consumption
  • psychosocial stress and depression
  • cardiac disease
  • ratio of apolipoprotein B to A1 (a predictor of cardiovascular disease risk)

2. Hemorrhagic Strokes are due to leaked blood from a ruptured artery in the brain that damages brain cells. 

Five modifiable risk factors, also listed above, have been identified for these less-common strokes: hypertension, smoking, waist-hip ratio, diet and heavy alcohol consumption. 

While there are “unmodifiable” risk factors such as age (incidence doubles every 10 years after the age of 55), gender, race. and genetics, we can empower ourselves to manage risk by making positive lifestyle choices.

A healthy eating style to prevent a stroke overlaps with the American Heart Association guidelines to prevent heart disease (3). Focus on plants: veggies, fruits, legumes or beans, nuts and seeds, and fish. If you eat animal-based products, choose lean meat and poultry, lower-fat dairy, and non-tropical vegetable oils instead of saturated fats (solid at room temperature). Make salty, sodium-rich foods, highly processed and sugary foods, and beverages occasional treats.   

Everyone should know common signs of a stroke so they can dial 911 for speedy medical help. A stroke-awareness email from U.W. says to remember BE FAST to recognize stroke symptoms:

B: balance and coordination are suddenly affected

E: eyes experience blurry or double vision or vision loss

F: face droops or appears uneven

A: one arm is weak or numb

S: speech is difficult or slurred

T:  a terrible headache may occur

The following plant-forward dip or spread made with roasted carrots, white beans and almonds,  fit right in with . They suit just about any eating occasion and can be dressed up for party-time apps.

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

Roasted Carrot, White Bean and Almond Dip

This hummus-like dip is a rich blend of tender roasted carrots, cooked white beans, almond butter, and almonds, punched up with smoked paprika and cayenne.

Makes about 2 cups.

1 ½ lb. carrots, peeled and cut into strips about ½-inch diameter

3 ½ tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt and pepper

½ cup cooked white beans (drained if canned)

1/3 cup toasted natural (skin on) almonds

¼ cup almond butter

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1-2 cloves garlic, sliced

½ teaspoon smoked paprika, more to taste

Cayenne pepper, to taste

Chopped almonds, for garnish

Fresh veggies, crackers, or pita chips, for dipping

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place carrots on parchment lined sheet. Brush with 1-1 ½ tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 45-60 minutes, stirring once or twice, until very tender, and lightly charred. Cool to warm.

In food processor bowl, combine roasted carrots, beans, almond, almond butter, lemon juice, garlic, smoked paprika and a dash or two of cayenne pepper. Whirl until smooth, scraping side of bowl once or twice. Add another 2 tablespoons olive oil and whirl again. Taste and adjust seasonings to taste. Garnish with chopped almonds if you like. Serve with your favorite dippers


  1. Center for Disease Control and Prevention: About Stroke
  2. Stroke Risk Factors, Genetics, and Prevention. Amelia K. Boehme, PhD,1,2 Charles Esenwa, MD,2 and Mitchell S. V. Elkind, MD, MS. Circ Res. 2017 Feb 3; 120(3): 472–495.
  3. Diet for Stroke Prevention The American Heart Association
  4. The American Stroke Association

© 2022 Lorelle Del Matto

lorelle About lorelle

Crazy about cooking, eating and sharing good food – my work and leisure revolve around the kitchen. As a culinary dietitian my professional life encompasses nutrition counseling and education, recipe development, product development, food and nutrition writing, marketing communications, corporate test kitchen and consumer affairs management, food styling and work as a product spokesperson.

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