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You can reduce your risk of having a brain stroke by making small changes to your diet and lifestyle. These changes can help lower your blood pressure, control diabetes and lower your cholesterol levels - all of which are common conditions amongst South Asians and increase the risk of brain stroke.

Top Tips Reducing the risk of brain stroke

1. Check your blood pressure

If you are South Asian you are more likely to have high blood pressure. High blood pressure is one of the biggest risk factors for brain stroke. There is no single cause of high blood pressure but many things can contribute to it such as:

  • Not doing enough exercise
  • Being overweight
  • A high salt intake
  • An unhealthy diet
  • Family history

High blood pressure is particularly dangerous as it may not show any symptoms. The only way to tell if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked regularly.

2. Lower your salt intake

One of the quickest ways you can lower your blood pressure is to eat less salt. Salt makes your body retain water; this extra stored water raises your blood pressure. Adults should eat no more than 6g of salt a day (about a teaspoon).

3. Eat a healthy diet

A healthy balanced diet can reduce your risk of brain stroke. Aim to eat at least five fruit and vegetables a day, avoid food fried in butter and ghee. Grill, boil or steam food and eat more white meat (chicken and fish) instead of red meat (beef and lamb).

Asian sweetmeats (mithai) such as jalebi, laddu, gulab jamun and burfi contain very high levels of fat and sugar and should only be eaten on special occasions.

4. Execise regularly

Research has shown that South Asians in the UK do not exercise enough. Taking regular exercise has many health benefits. It can help to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, help maintain a healthy weight, strengthen your heart and improve circulation. All of which can help to reduce your risk of brain stroke.

Just 30 minutes of exercise, five days a week can reduce your risk. Walk to the shops, take the stairs instead of the lift, try yoga or dancing. It doesn’t really matter what you do as long as it makes you feel warm and slightly out of breath.

Stop using tobacco

Tobacco use can double your risk of brain stroke. Whether you smoke cigarettes, beedis or shisha, chew tobacco in paan or gutkha, it is still harmful to your health and can increase the risk of serious health problems. Choose to quit the habit, a good occasion could be Ramadan, Diwali, or the birth of a new baby in the family.

6. Reduce alcohol consumption

If you drink too much alcohol this will raise your blood pressure over time. Heavy drinking increases the risk of brain stroke by more than three times.

Alcohol also contains a lot of calories which will make you gain weight. This will also increase your blood pressure.

The NHS recommends that men should not regularly drink more than 3-4 units a day.

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