One of the best ways to protect yourself against a stroke or
heart attack is by not smoking. Here are other ways:
- Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight increases your risk of high blood pressure,
high cholesterol levels, cardiovascular disease and diabetes —
risk factors for a stroke and heart attack. So eat a nutritious diet
and aim for 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity on most days.
- Limit fats and cholesterol
Limit meat to a total of 6 ounces daily. Choose fat-free or
low-fat dairy products. Limit saturated fats and avoid trans
fats. Instead of solid fats (butter, margarine, shortening), use
monounsaturated oils (canola, olive and peanut) and polyunsaturated
oils (corn, safflower, sesame, sunflower and soy).
- Eat fish that have omega-3s
Eat fish that have omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and
trout. (See “Eat foods high in omega-3s,” page 34.)
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
Produce contains nutrients such as potassium, folate and
antioxidants that may protect against stroke and heart attack.
Eat at least three servings of fruits and at least four servings
of vegetables daily.
- Use alcohol moderately, if at all
Too much alcohol can raise blood pressure. Moderate drinking
is defined as no more than one drink a day for women and
anyone age 65 or older and no more than two drinks a day for
men under 65.
- Reduce sodium (salt)
Limiting sodium in your diet and making other lifestyle
changes can help prevent high blood pressure. If you already
have it, reducing sodium intake further may help lower it.