Diet and Exercise Tips to Prevent Stroke

May is Stroke National Awareness Month. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of disability. But according to the National Stroke Association, up to 80% of strokes are preventable. Some risk factors are controllable while others aren’t. But diet and exercise can certainly help prevent your risk. To set the facts straight, we turned to Edward White Hospital’s Stroke Coordinator Bari Berger RN, BSN.

What are the controllable risk factors for stroke?
Controllable risk factors for stroke include stopping tobacco use, maintaining a healthy weight, controlling high blood pressure and controlling diabetes. Controllable risk factors are things that a person can control with medication or by making lifestyle changes.

What are the uncontrollable risk factors for stroke?
Uncontrollable risk factors are things that no one can change and medical science cannot do anything about such as genetics, age and race. What are the five most effective diet tips to reduce your risk of stroke? Americans consume a lot of salt so reducing salt in your diet can go a long way to reduce risks to many diseases like stroke and heart problems. Eating smaller portions several times daily will help in weight reduction and increase a person’s metabolism. Limit fatty products and choosing lean proteins such as skinless chicken, fish, lean meats, and soy products. The more colorful the vegetables that are chosen on your plate the better they are for you; make sure they are steamed, baked, or grilled for the best possible health benefit.

What are the five best exercise tips to reduce your risk of stroke?
The single best advice I can give is to make sure a person exercises at least 30 minutes 3-4 times a week. If a person is currently a “couch potato” they should start slowly with small amounts of exercise several times a week and build up to the suggested amount. If there are any medical problems then check with a private doctor before starting any exercise program. Any amount of exercise more than what is being completed currently is an improvement. What other precautions can people take to reduce their risk of stroke? Getting regular checkups with a private physician will go a long way to reduce a person’s risk.

What can you expect when you go?
The physician will take a history, complete a physical, and have blood work drawn. Checking blood pressure readings and cholesterol levels are an excellent way to reduce the risk for stroke. Baked chicken and wild rice with onion and tarragon 1 1/2 cups whole pearl onions, 1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, 2 cups unsalted chicken broth, 1 1/2 cups dry white wine, 1 package long grain and wild rice mix and seasoning packet. Preheat the oven to 300 F. Remove skin and bones from chicken breasts and cut into 1/2- to 1-inch pieces. Combine the chicken, celery, pearl onions and tarragon plus 1 cup of the unsalted chicken broth in a nonstick frying pan. Cook on medium heat until the chicken and vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. In a baking dish, combine the wine, remaining 1 cup chicken broth, rice and seasoning packet. Let soak for 30 minutes. Add the cooked chicken and vegetables to the baking dish. Cover and bake for 60 minutes. Check periodically and add more broth if the rice is too dry. Serve immediately. Nutritional Analysis Protein 20g Sodium 300 mg

For more information about stroke prevention, contact Bari Berger  for a free seminar at Edward White Hospital. Call 1-877-4-HCA-Docs (1-877-442-2362).

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