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Preventing Stroke: Healthy Living

(Courtesy of National Institute of Health)

You can help prevent stroke by making healthy lifestyle choices. A healthy lifestyle includes the following:

  • Eating a healthy diet. Choosing healthy meal and snack options can help you avoid stroke and its complications. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Eating foods low in saturated fats, trans fat, and cholesterol and high in fiber can help prevent high cholesterol. Limiting salt (sodium) in your diet also can lower your blood pressure. For more information on healthy diet and nutrition, see the CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity website.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese increases your risk for stroke. To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, doctors often calculate your body mass index (BMI). If you know your weight and height, you can calculate your BMI at the CDC’s Assessing Your Weight website. Doctors sometimes also use waist and hip measurements to measure excess body fat.
  • Two older adults walkingGetting enough exercise. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your cholesterol and blood pressure levels. For adults, the Surgeon General recommends 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, like brisk walking or bicycling, every week. Children and adolescents should get 1 hour of physical activity every day. For more information, see the CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity website.
  • Not smoking. Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for stroke. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk for stroke. Your doctor can suggest ways to help you quit. For more information about tobacco use and quitting, see the CDC’s Smoking & Tobacco Use website.
  • Limiting alcohol use. Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can raise your blood pressure. Men should have no more than 2 drinks per day, and women only 1. For more information, visit the CDC’s Alcohol and Public Health website.