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      Southern foods linked to stroke, putting SC in the 'Stroke Belt'

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- People living in the Southeastern United States have a higher risk of stroke than those in other parts of the country, according to researchers.

      The study by the University of Alabama, Birmingham, shows traditional southern foods may be the culprit, giving the southeast its nickname as the "Stroke Belt."

      According to the nationwide survey, people who consumed foods such as fried chicken and sweet tea about six times per week had a 40 percent greater chance of having a stroke compared to those who ate southern foods once a month.

      "When you look at our southern foods here, yeah, southern foods are tasty, delicious, but they are high in fat, high in sugar, and these would put patients at risk," said Dr. Paisith Piriyawat, M.D. with the Dept. of Neurology at the University of South Carolina.

      According to Dietitian Kristen Tice, revising your southern diet can play a key role in getting healthy and avoiding stroke. She recommends eating more fruits and vegetables and staying away from saturated and trans fats to stay stroke free.