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A Stroke of Good Health

A Stroke of Good Health

At this year’s Rio Olympics the U.S. women’s eight rowing squad, which has won every world title and Olympic gold medal since 2006, is lead by coxswain Katelin Snyder. Her calls of, “stroke, stroke, stroke,” echo through the amazing Lagoa Stadium (a huge lake with bleachers!), pacing her team to victory.

For most folks, however, a stroke is something to be avoided—and, it turns out, very often it can be! A global study of 27,000 people called INTERSTROKE has found 90 percent of strokes (blood clots in the brain that deprive brain tissue of blood and nutrients) are attributable to one or more of 10 conditions—all of which can usually be avoided by making smart lifestyle decisions.

The conditions are: 1) high blood pressure; 2) physical inactivity; 3) poor diet; 4) obesity; 5) smoking; 6) cardiac causes; 7) diabetes; 8) alcohol intake; 9) stress; and 10) elevated lipids (LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, etc.).

And the smart lifestyle decisions?

  • Walking 10,000 steps a day (or aerobic equivalent) and doing strength-building exercise for 20 minutes, two-plus days a week.
  • Eliminating red and processed meats from your diet, as well as ditching added sugars and syrups and refined grains.
  • Not smoking.
  • Eating five to nine servings daily of fresh fruits and veggies.
  • Limiting alcohol intake to one to two glasses of wine a day.
  • Meditating for 10 minutes daily.
  • Sleeping for seven to eight hours nightly.

Then you’ll have a stroke of good luck—and most certainly avoid this major cause of brain dysfunction. 

Medically reviewed in January 2019.

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