30 seconds. That’s how often a stroke occurs in the United States – every 30 seconds. Now we don’t mean to scare you away with that fact coming from the National Stroke Association, but it does show the importance of doing everything you can now to prevent stroke.
Luckily, there are some simple things you can do to lower your stroke risk, and a healthy diet is one of those things!
Best Tips for your Diet
Eating the right foods and avoiding the wrong kinds of food is key in preventing high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, both of which greatly increase your risk of having a stroke.
- Cut out the sodium. An astounding 80 percent of people who experience a stroke have high blood pressure, which is directly affected by your diet choices. To lower your blood pressure and your stroke risk, a low-sodium diet is the way to go! Instead of processed and packaged foods with high salt content, opt for fresh foods – just don’t add the salt when you prepare them.
- Use the power of protein to your advantage. A recent study found that those who ate 20 grams of protein a day reduced their stroke risk by 26 percent! The key is knowing which sources of protein are the healthiest. Nuts, seeds and lentils are all great options along with salmon and lean meat.
- Don’t forget about fruits and veggies! How powerful are they in preventing stroke, you ask? Well, for every 7 ounces of fruit you eat a day, you lower your risk by 32 percent, and for every 200 grams of vegetables you eat a day, your stroke risk decreases by 11 percent. Citrus fruits, pears, apples and leafy vegetables are especially effective in preventing strokes.
- Power up with potassium. One reason why potassium is so effective, not only in preventing stroke but also in benefiting one’s overall health, is that it lowers blood pressure, relaxes blood vessels and even gets rid of the sodium in your body. Some of the best sources of potassium are white beans, bananas, spinach, fish and both white and sweet potatoes.
- Focus in on fiber. According to a recent study, one’s stroke risk can be decreased by 7 percent for every 7 grams of fiber consumed a day – an amount that can be found in one serving of whole wheat pasta! Beans, whole-wheat bread, legumes and brown rice are also rich in fiber. As a tasty treat, air-popped popcorn is another option!
- Have you tried the Mediterranean Diet? This specific diet has been shown to lower stroke risk by 30 percent, and the best part is that the Mediterranean Diet involves much of the foods already listed above on this list (i.e. fish, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, potatoes, etc.).
- Know the 3 things to avoid: Smoking, Drinking and Drugs. These three things greatly increase your risk of stroke. Excessive drinking could cause you to experience a stroke five years sooner than those who drink responsibly. Like in everything else, the key is moderation.
The best part about these tips? Everything you do to reduce your risk of stroke will simultaneously reduce your heart attack risk, so you lower your risk of two serious health threats just by adjusting your diet!
These are all great foods that prevent a stroke, but should you suffer from a stroke, it’s even more important to be conscious of what you eat. Click here to learn more nutrition tips for stroke survivors.