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    Stroke Prevention Lifestyle Tips

    Revamp Your Diet continued...

    Although there are many approaches to eating healthy, following these basic guidelines can help simplify the process:

    • Stock up on fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables. Buy produce in an array of colors -- reds, oranges, yellows and greens -- to get a range of nutrients.
    • Buy only whole-grain bread, cereal, rice, and pasta.
    • Choose poultry, fish, and lean meats.
    • Add nuts, seeds, and legumes (beans and peas) to your meals several times a week.
    • Buy only fat-free or low-fat dairy products.
    • Use healthy fats such as olive, canola, and other vegetable oils or plant-based stanols, and look for trans-free margarines.
    • Toss your salt shaker. Don't add salt while cooking or at the table.
    • Read food labels and avoid foods high in sugar, sodium, saturated fat, and trans fat.
    • Try to have at least one meatless meal a week. Eating more of a plant-based diet makes it easier to limit cholesterol and unhealthy fats.

    When your cupboard is bare, it can be all too easy to resort to fast food. "That's why it's so important to have healthy foods available at all times," Zumpano says. She suggests stocking up on convenience items such as low-fat and low-sodium frozen dinners, fruit such as apples and oranges that won't spoil quickly, and granola bars and trail mix so that you always have healthy meal and snack options on hand.

    You can boost your weight loss efforts by eating breakfast every day, keeping portions small, drinking plenty of water or other calorie-free drinks, and learning how to make healthy choices when eating out.

    Make Your Move

    When it comes to the benefits of exercise, there is really no downside to moving your body. However, because you've had a stroke, you should talk with your doctor before starting an exercise program. Once you get the OK, these tips can help you get moving.

    • If you have disabilities from your stroke, work with your doctor or physical therapist to tailor an exercise program that works for you.
    • For most people, taking a 20 to 30 minute walk every day is ideal. If that length of time is too much for you right now, break it up into two or three 10-minute chunks throughout the day.
    • Gradually build up to at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on most days. Moderate-intensity level activities include brisk walking, gardening, water aerobics, and wheeling yourself around if you are in a wheel chair.

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