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Preventing Stroke: Healthy Living

Older woman sitting on floor with yoga ball and weights

You can help prevent stroke by making healthy lifestyle choices.



Healthy diet


Choosing healthy meal and snack options can help you prevent stroke. 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 can also lower your blood pressure. High cholesterol and high blood pressure increase your chances of having a stroke.



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. If you know your weight and height, you can calculate your BMI at the CDC's Assessing Your Weight website. Doctors sometimes use waist and hip measurements to measure excess body fat.



Physical activity


Physical activity can help you stay at a healthy weight and lower your cholesterol and blood pressure levels. For adults, the Surgeon General recommends two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, such as a brisk walk, each week. Children and teens should get one hour of physical activity every day.



No smoking


Cigarette smoking greatly increases your chances of having a 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.



Limited alcohol


Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can raise your blood pressure. Men should have no more than two drinks per day, and women only one.


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