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Stop liking salty food so much!

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Are pretzels, french fries, deli meats, canned soups and other foods high in sodium a part of your regular diet? If so, you may be more liable to suffer a stroke. Eating too many salty foods can increase your risk of having an elevated blood pressure – and this is a preexisting condition which accounts for 54% of stroke cases worldwide! Therefore, it’s recommended that we cap our sodium intake to no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium each day.

You hate bananas

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Bananas (along with other foods like beans, beets, potatoes, spinach and tomato sauce) are high in potassium. The body does not produce this mineral naturally, which means it’s important to consume it through healthy foods and drinks. However, diets that are high in potassium can increase your stroke risk through lowering your blood pressure.

You rely heavily on processed foods

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We all know that there’s a link between diet and stroke risk, however as well as low-sodium and high-potassium diets, it has also been found that the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are likely to actually reduce the risk of a stroke. These foods can crowd out foods and nutrients that are more likely to increase your risk of a stroke, such as fatty foods.

Stop preferring bottled salad dressing!

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Now, of course having a salad at all is great, but opting for a standard, store-bought salad dressing may stop you from having those stroke-preventing benefits of olive oil. This is because most bottled salad dressings are made with vegetable oil, not olive oil. However, olive oil is great for preventing the risk of a stroke because it’s rich in monounsaturated fatty acid, which can account for 20% of calories in Mediterranean diets!

You never order the fish

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If your choice of protein is always chicken, then you may be missing out on the preventative benefits of fish. In a study it was found that those who ate fish 1-3 times a month had significantly lower incidence of strokes compared to those who never ate fish. Therefore, it may be worth diversifying your diet slightly to explore the benefits that other foods may have on preventing the likelihood of a stroke.

You always order another round

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If you drink alcohol in moderation (1-2 drinks per day) then you don’t have to be too concerned – especially if your go-to-drink is wine. However, if you’re drinking half a bottle of wine or more per night, then you may want to reduce your drinking habit. This is because alcohol has been linked to stroke risk since 1725, due to long-term drinking causing high blood pressure spikes.

You always avoid eating citrus fruits

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Vitamin C is directly linked to a reduction in risk of a stroke – especially in citrus fruits. It is important that this water-soluble vitamin is absorbed from food, rather than supplements, to have any tangible benefits. One study found that citrus fruits lower stroke risk because of this.

You drink too many artificially sweetened drinks

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Artificially sweetened drinks will increase the risk of a stroke, therefore it is imperative that we cut down on sugary drinks – especially over recent years due to the rise in obesity amongst all of the population. Consuming less sugary foods will help to control weight, manage diabetes and of course lower the risk of a stroke. Artificially sweetened drinks have also been found to increase the risk of not only a stroke, but a heart attack also.

You eat too much meat

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Research has found that the more processed meat, unprocessed meat and poultry we eat (not including fish), the more likely we are to have a stroke. This is because red meats contain large amounts of saturated fat, which is linked with higher cholesterol – which is another risk factor of a stroke. And then processed meat is often manufactured with a high level of salt, which increases the risk of high blood pressure, which then further increases the risk of a stroke.

You rely on packaged and fried food

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Fried and frozen foods are convenient which is great, however, unfortunately many frozen foods and meals are extremely unhealthy and have a large amount of trans fats – which are the worst types of fats that you can consume as it heightens your ‘bad’ cholesterol and lowers your ‘good’ cholesterol. A study compared the data of countries with and without trans fats (as many countries have banned trans fats) and there was a 6% decline in hospitalizations for heart attacks and strokes for those that have banned trans fats.