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Five Ways to Reduce Your Risk for Stroke
May is stroke awareness month! Did you know that stroke is a leading cause of death and serious disability in the United States? It’s time to take control of your health and adopt good lifestyle habits to reduce your risk for stroke.
Here are a few things to keep in mind to prevent stroke:
- Stop smoking! Smoking doubles your risk of stroke. If you are trying to quit, support is available by calling the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline at (800) QUIT-NOW.
- Skip the salt! High sodium diets contribute to high blood pressure – a leading risk factor for stroke. The recommended sodium intake per day is 2,300 mg which you can get from one tsp of salt alone, so try flavoring foods with herbs, spices and citrus instead. Limiting high sodium foods like processed meats (ham, bacon, deli meat), marinades, canned products, salad dressings, pickled foods, and condiments can help keep daily sodium intake low. Choose low sodium and no salt added products when available.
- Go lean! Saturated fat found in high fat meat and dairy products can raise cholesterol levels. High cholesterol puts you at greater risk for heart disease and stroke. Lower the amount of saturated fat in your diet by choosing low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt and cheese, lean beef and pork, skinless chicken, and substituting butter, shortening, lard and other solid fats with liquid oils (canola, olive, vegetable) and soft margarine spreads.
- Choose more fruits and vegetables! According to a recent study by Harvard University eating five servings of fruits and vegetables daily can lower stroke risk by 30 percent!
- Move more! Daily exercise, like brisk walking, can lower your risk of stroke considerably. Aim for 30 minutes most days of the week. If your tight on time, remember it’s cumulative! You can meet your goal with two 15 minute walks or three ten minute walks during the day.
For more information on stroke prevention and your risk for stroke please visit the National Stoke Association website at www.stroke.org.
For nutritional counseling, Norman Regional Health System offers the guidance of registered dietitians. Those interested can schedule an appointment for an assessment with a referral from their family physician.
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