Stroke prevention is an expansive subject, and if you poke around on the internet for long enough you’ll eventually find what you’re looking for.
But we have unique information here that will give your stroke prevention efforts an extra edge. This article covers more than just a clean diet and good exercise. It’s the sum total of everything we’ve learned and want you to know.
Here are our top 5 tips on how to avoid a stroke.
1. Heal Your Gut to Heal Your Brain
If you take just one thing away from this article – we hope it’s this.
Your gut plays a critical role in brain health, yet not that many people are talking about it.
It’s cutting-edge stuff, and we dig into the details in our article on the gut-brain axis (the pathway through which your gut communicates with your brain).
2. Find Better Ways to Avoid Salt
Avoiding salt is an obvious stroke prevention tip. Why is it obvious? Because excessive sodium aggravates high blood pressure – the leading cause of stroke.
But more importantly, why are we talking about it?
Because no one tells you how to spice it up!
They just tell you to give it up, but it’s really hard to give up something you love. Luckily, being healthy doesn’t mean we have to deprive ourselves. We just have to be smarter about the way we choose to nourish our body and make space for the things we love. Here’s how to make it easier on yourself.
Identify your favorite salty foods and find a low-sodium version of it. There’s some really good stuff out there. You’ll never have to sacrifice the foods you love ever again.
3. Use This Trick to Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is extremely important during stroke recovery. If you’re constantly tired after you had a stroke and don’t know why, read this article.
You’ll learn that sleep is simply just gooood. And if you have trouble falling asleep, here’s a cool trick that works almost every time.
It’s called the “4-7-8” breathing technique.
When you’re lying down in bed, begin to breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, and then exhale for 8 seconds. This method will slow your breathing down and allow you to take in more oxygen. Your whole body will relax and before you know it, you’re fast asleep.
4. Eat and Drink Your Antioxidants
Antioxidants come in many shapes and sizes – but they’re almost always colorful.
Bright fruits and veggies are always good sources of antioxidants, compounds that move through your body and suck up all the bad stuff.
Antioxidants are really easy to get, and you have plenty of options (i.e. almost every single raw fruit and veggie counts).
Ensure that you’re getting your daily 5-7 servings of fruits and veggies (here’s a guide on how to do this with ease).
To pack even more good stuff into your day, try drinking a cup of coffee or green tea a day. These two beverages are packed with antioxidants that are also proven to reduce your risk of stroke. Now the only questions is, will you be an antioxidant eater or drinker?
5. Load Up on All the Right Vitamins
The Traditional American Diet is deficient in many different vitamins and minerals (7 to be exact).
To fill these gaps, you need to ensure that you’re eating a variety of whole foods (like the brightly colored produce we just talked about).
But what are whole foods? According to WebMD, it’s “food that has been processed or refined as little as possible and is free from additives or other artificial substances.”
For some fun, see this simple diet plan. WebMD would probably approve of it, don’t you think?
Some specific nutrients to focus on to help prevent stroke are brain-boosting omega-3’s. You can find these in fatty fish and flaxseeds.
Next, you’ll need to ensure that you’re getting enough of the neuroprotective sunshine vitamin: Vitamin D. You can get this vitamin from safe sun exposure or foods like eggs, cheese, and fatty fish.
Finally, you’ll want to ensure that you’re getting adequate amounts of the antioxidant vitamin C, which has been shown to reduce your risk of stroke.
Luckily, you’re probably getting all the vitamin C you need if you’re focusing on getting plenty of fresh fruits and veggies in your diet. (It really is worth repeating 3 times.)
Related article: How to Prevent a Second Stroke