Preventing a stroke is all about taking care of your heart and your blood. This means keeping your good cholesterol high, and your bad cholesterol low with diet, exercise, and avoiding some specific bad habits. Here are some ways to lower your risks for stroke:

Diet

As cholesterol can directly impact your likelihood of having a stroke, keeping your cholesterol in check can help you fight off stroke and other cardiovascular problems. A diet rich in fiber, whole grains, fresh fruits, and lots of vegetables can help reduce your risk. Avoiding foods that are processed, high in cholesterol, high in saturated fat, and loaded with sodium can also help you avoid a stroke, among other health problems.

Exercise

Thirty minutes of exercise a day can do wonders for your body. Raising your heart rate while exercising helps the body clear toxins and can help strengthen your heart, blood vessels, and brain. Consult your doctor before starting any exercise regimen to ensure you don’t do more harm that good.

Mind Your Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is a major factor in your risk of of having a stroke. Working with your doctor early can help keep your blood pressure at the appropriate levels. Avoiding sodium and getting some regular exercise can help significantly. Also, try to eat a diet that is high in fruit, vegetables, and potassium; these have all been shown to significantly decrease blood pressure.

Don’t Smoke

Among the many health problems caused by smoking, an increased risk of stroke is certainly one of the most serious. The poisons in cigarette smoke constrict, and contribute to hardening of the blood vessels, which increases the likelihood that clots will form and stroke will occur.

Limit Alcohol

Alcohol is a double-edged sword for stroke as it can both increase and decrease risk of stroke. The key is moderation: Small amounts of alcohol can increase your good cholesterol levels, which, in turn, lowers the bad cholesterol that increases risk of blood clotting and stroke. Excessive amounts of alcohol, however, can damage your heart and blood vessels.

Control Chronic Conditions

If you suffer from high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, or diabetes, then the more you actively manage your condition, the better chance you have of avoiding a stroke.