Ask women their health fears, and breast cancer often tops the list. But twice as many will eventually succumb to stroke. Each year, more women than men die of stroke. What’s more, strokes are the leading cause of preventable disability in the U.S.
The good news? Four in five strokes can be prevented. And a new study suggests that even if you start in midlife, you can still make a big impact.
Strokes occur when blood flow to the brain is blocked. Starved of oxygen, brain cells die off within minutes, possibly leaving you debilitated—or worse.
Results from a 26-year study of stroke in women found participants reduced their risk by a quarter with a few lifestyle adjustments.
The women’s secrets to stroke-prevention success came from these combined strategies:
• Not smoking
• Exercising 30 minutes or more per day
• Gradually losing weight (if they needed to)
• Eating a healthy diet
What did an anti-stroke diet look like?
Daily, they’d consume:
• Five or more servings of fruits and vegetables
• One or more servings of nuts
• Two or more servings of whole grains
• Five to 15 grams—about one standard drink or less—of alcohol
And each week, they had:
• Three or more servings of fish
• Three or fewer servings of red meat
• No processed meat
To learn more about stroke care, visit scl.health/journal-stroke.