How to Reduce Your Risk of Stroke
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is one of the most important things you can do to help prevent your risk of stroke. The best eating plan to help prevent stroke is the DASH eating plan.
The DASH eating plan is very similar to Canada’s Food Guide – they both focus on whole foods, plenty of fibre, and small amounts of healthy fats.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. They are packed with fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Slowly increase your intake until you are consuming 7 to 10 servings per day. Try to include at least one dark green vegetable and one orange vegetable or fruit each day.
Choose mostly whole grains. Whole grain foods contain fibre, vitamins, minerals, and some contain protein. Whole grains will keep you feeling full – and have a smaller effect on your blood sugar – then highly processed white grains.
Choose lean proteins. Choose lean cuts of meat, chicken without skin, lower fat dairy products and eggs. Include vegetable protein sources such as beans and legumes, nuts and nut butters, and soy products throughout the week. Include fish at least two times each week.
Use healthy fats. Include small amounts of heart healthy fats such as olive oil and the fat found in avocados, nuts and seeds.
Limit your intake of highly processed foods. These include processed meats such as hot dogs and deli meats; frozen entrées such as lasagnas, pizzas and TV dinners; boxed foods with added seasonings or seasoning packets such as some boxed pastas and rice; breaded and battered foods such as fish and chicken burgers; salty snack foods such as potato chips.
Limit your intake of sugary beverages. These include soft drinks, fruit drinks, energy drinks and flavoured coffees with added sugar. Drink plenty of water – you can add flavour by adding lemon or lime wedges, orange wedges or other fruit such as berries.
Remember – don’t try to make too many changes at once! Begin by making one or two small positive changes to your daily routine, and continue to build on your successes.