There are many common and easy ways to prevent a stroke, and improve your overall health. Your eating and daily habits play a huge role in determining your risk of suffering a stroke.
Here is how you can lower your risk, according to nutrition experts.
How to Prevent a Stroke According to Dietitians:
1. Choose the Right Carbohydrates
Not all carbohydrates are created equal, when it comes to cardiovascular disease and stroke prevention.
Foods that are loaded in fibre, fresh fruits, wholegrains, and vegetables are all perfect examples of healthy, and unrefined carbohydrates. While nutrient-poor and processed refined carbohydrates including sweets, coldrinks, ice-cream, chocolates, refined grains potato chips, and sugary baked products should be avoided as much as possible. THis is because a consistently high blood glucose levels damage the arteries of the heart and brain.
2. Eat a Healthy Diet
A high intake of fresh vegetables and fruits is linked with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. These plant powerhouses are great sources of vital nutrients such as minerals (like magnesium and potassium); vitamins; fibre and phytonutrients (the colour pigments in vegetables and fruit that act as antioxidants). These food options are naturally low in fat and have no undesirable additions like salt and sugar.
According to the South African Food Based Dietary Guidelines you should include plenty of vegetables and fruits in your diet. While, the WHO recommends 400g of fruit and vegetables daily or 5 servings of 80g each. Also, the American Heart Association also emphasises the importance of a healthy, balanced diet.
Not getting enough exercise is linked with a wide range of health problems, including that of stroke.
Exercise may help in preventing stroke by helping to reduce other risk factors, including obesity and high blood pressure.
The American Heart Association (AHA) and American Stroke Association, in their latest stroke prevention guidelines, recommended that healthy adults get approximately 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise 3-4 days a week.
“Moderate to vigorous intensity” means that your heart rate should be elevated and you should be breathing hard.
4. Lose Excess Weight
Obesity, and the complications associated to it (including diabetes and high blood pressure), raises your odds of having a stroke. Therefore, if you are overweight, losing as little as 10 pounds, can have a great impact on your stroke risk.
An ideal body mass index (BMI) is 25 or less, which may not be realistic for you. Consult with your doctor to make a personal weight loss strategy.
How to achieve it:
- Eat no more than 1,500-2,000 calories daily, (depending on your current BMI and your activity level).
- Increase the amount of exercise you do with activities including golfing, walking, or playing tennis, and by making activity as part of every single day.
5. Watch the Cholesterol
Too much cholesterol can clog your arteries, and lead to stroke and heart attack. Keep your numbers in the healthy range:
- Total cholesterol: under 200 mg/dL of blood
- LDL (bad) cholesterol: under 100 mg/dL
- HDL (good) cholesterol: above 60 mg/dL
If a healthy diet and exercise are not sufficient to keep your cholesterol in check, your doctor may recommend medication.
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