The top 10 leading causes of strokes are under your control.
1. Get your blood pressure under control. The DASH diet, weight loss, exercise, and medication (if needed) have all be shown to work. The DASH Diet Action Plan shows you how to implement the diet, exercise, and weight loss to maximize the lifestyle changes to improved blood pressure.
2. Stop smoking.
3. Lose the excess belly fat. (DASH diet helps here.)
4. Eat more fruits and vegetables. (Key to the DASH diet).
5. Exercise. (It’s in the plan.)
6. Your diet should contain more of the good fat than the bad fat (Solid fats are the bad ones. They include the saturated fats in full-fat dairy and meats. Trans fats, which are found mostly in processed foods and baked goods.)
7. Keep diabetes under control or prevent it if you have a family history. The DASH diet has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, which may reduce or delay your risk of developing diabetes. The DASH diet can also be safely consumed by people with diabetes, while keeping to the low side on refined foods, especially starchy foods. The DASH Diet Action Plan has tips for people with diabetes, pre-diabetes (insulin resistance), and metabolic syndrome (often an early indicator that the likelihood of your developing diabetes is increasing.) A healthy diet, such as the DASH diet, along with weight loss, exercise and medication, as needed, all help to avoid risk of complications, such as stroke, for people with diabetes.
8. Limit alcohol intake to no more than 1 drink per day for women, 2 for men. And don’t try to make up for it by having 3 – 4 on a weekend.
9. Learn how to deal with stress in your life. We may not be able to eliminate it, but we can control our response to stressors.
10. Follow your cardiologist’s advice if you already have a heart disorder.
The DASH Diet Action Plan specifically targets the first 8 of these modifiable risk factors.