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Stroke Prevention: Healthy Eating

A healthy diet and lifestyle can help prevent stokes. Making simple changes to your diet can create long-term health benefits.

Maintain a healthy weight

  • Use smaller plates.
  • Avoid high calorie beverages such as soda.
  • Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day.

Limit salt/sodium in your diet to control your blood pressure. Daily intakes of salt should be between 2000-3000mg per day.

  • Low sodium foods have less than 140mg per serving.
  • Avoid using the salt shaker instead use fresh herbs and spices to season food.

Limit daily fat intake

  • Suggested fat intake for men = 60 grams per day.
  • Suggested fat intake for women = 45grams per day.
  • Choose lean cuts of meats, poultry or fish or substitute legumes and soy products for meats.
  • Limit saturated and trans fats to a minimum.
  • Look for hidden fats on ingredient list. Avoid items containing: partially hydrogenated oil, coconut or palm oils.

More Eating Tips

  1. Include several servings of whole grain products each day.
  2. Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products.
  3. Include 3-5 servings of fruits and/or vegetables per day.
  4. Limit alcohol to two drinks per day for most men and one drink per day for women and lighter weight people. (1 drink= 12oz beer, 5 oz wine or 1.5 oz 80-proof liquor)

Additional Prevention Measures

  1. Know blood pressure (hypertension)
    High blood pressure is a major stroke risk factor if left untreated. Have blood pressure checked yearly by a doctor or at health fairs, a local pharmacy or supermarket or with an automatic blood pressure machine.
  2. Identify atrial fibrillation (Afib)
    Afib is an abnormal heartbeat that can increase stroke risk by 500 percent. Afib can cause blood to pool in the heart and may form a clot and cause a stroke. A doctor must diagnose and treat Afib.
  3. Stop smoking
    Smoking doubles the risk of stroke. It damages blood vessel walls, speeds up artery clogging, raises blood pressure and makes the heart work harder. Stopping smoking today will immediately begin to decrease risk.
  4. Control alcohol use
    Alcohol use has been linked to stroke in many studies. Most doctors recommend not drinking or drinking only in moderation – no more than two drinks each day. Remember that alcohol can negatively interact with other drugs you are taking.
  5. Know cholesterol levels
    Cholesterol is a fatty substance in blood that is made by the body. It also comes in food. High cholesterol levels can clog arteries and cause a stroke. See a doctor if your total cholesterol level is more than 200.
  6. Control diabetes
    Many people with diabetes have health problems that are also stroke risk factors. Your doctor can prescribe a nutrition program, lifestyle changes and medicine to help control your diabetes.
  7. Manage exercise and diet

Presented by the National Stroke Association