There’s no question that even hearing the word stroke can be scary, but unfortunately it’s a very real risk. Every year more than 750,000 Americans suffer a stroke (technically called a cerebrovascular accident), and strokes are the third-leading cause of death in this country.
For the majority of those who do survive these traumatic events, lingering speech, motor, and vision problems are common. What makes this such a huge tragedy is that up to 80 percent of all strokes can be prevented! Fortunately, there things you can do to reduce stroke risk.
Four Ways to Reduce Stroke Risk
1. Lower blood pressure. High blood pressure is the single most significant risk factor for stroke. That’s because chronically elevated blood pressure weakens blood vessels and contributes to atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries). This in turn increases the risk of a blood clot disrupting flow to the brain—in other words, a stroke. Here are ways that you can naturally lower blood pressure.
2. Give your body stroke-preventing nutritional supplements. You can reduce stroke risk by taking a daily antioxidant-rich multivitamin and mineral supplement, as well as additional folic acid (at least 800 mcg per day total), vitamin E (up to 1,200 IU total), vitamin D (2,000-5,000 IU per day) fish oil (2-8 g per day), and nattokinase (100 mg twice a day).
3. Eat a heart-healthy diet. Avoid sugars, starches, and salty or fatty processed foods. Replace them with a heart-healthy diet centered on lean protein, healthful fats, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. And don’t forget to drink plenty of purified water.
4. Exercise. Getting regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do to improve health, increase longevity, and reduce stroke risk--it is particularly beneficial for the cardiovascular system. Exercise conditions the heart muscle and stimulates the production of collateral blood vessels, which naturally bypass blocked arteries. It raises protective HDL cholesterol, lowers triglycerides, helps with weight loss, improves insulin sensitivity—and it can naturally lower blood pressure. You want to strive for 30-45 minutes of exercise, such as brisk walking, four or five days a week.
Now it’s your turn: What steps are you taking to improve cardiovascular health reduce stroke risk?