Diet & Exercise

Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthful diet and making exercise part of your daily life reduce your risk of stroke. To lose weight and maintain a healthy weight, you can:

  • Ask your doctor, nurse or a licensed nutritionist for help.
  • Know your special diet and exercise needs, especially if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes.
  • Avoid foods like egg yolks, fatty meats, butter and cream, which are high in fat and cholesterol.
  • Eat moderate amounts of food and cut down on saturated fat, sugar and salt.
  • Bake, broil, roast and boil foods. Avoid fried foods.
  • Avoid most fast food and read nutrition labels on packaged meals.
  • Limit alcohol to one drink a day.
  • Eat more fruit, vegetables, cereals, dried peas and beans, pasta, fish, poultry and lean meats.

The DASH diet can provide additional information, practical tips and recipes to help you reach your goals.

Physical activity lowers your risk of heart attack and stroke and makes your heart stronger. It helps you control your weight and blood pressure, helps you relax and can improve your mood.

To start exercising or improve your exercise routine:

  • Check with your doctor before you start.
  • Start slowly. Build up to at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at a time, five days a week or more (ask your doctor what moderate activity means for you).
  • Try new types of physical activity at home, such as dancing, weight training, warm-water exercise if you have a pool, or tai chi or exercise videos.
  • Look for any chance to be more active. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, and park farther from your destination so you can take a short walk.