As per the Indian Stroke Association, incidences of stroke have increased in India by 100 per cent over the last few decades. It is estimated that nearly 1.8 million people in the country suffer from a stroke every year and early treatment is the only way to reduce the increased mortality and morbidity.

While traditional medicine has made significant progress in stroke prevention and recovery, an integrated, comprehensive approach using natural methods is the key to reducing stroke’s burden in India. It isn’t necessary to live like a monk or train like an elite athlete to avoid the risk of a stroke. Making modest changes in lifestyle and incorporating healthy habits can help stave off stroke. Here are 10 tips to avoid the risk of stroke naturally.

Balanced Healthy Diet

Eating a balanced, nutritious diet is the key to stroke prevention. It is important to lower the amount of fat in the diet (saturated and trans fats) so as to reduce the risk of blood clots in the artery. The diet should include plenty of fruits, veggies, nuts, whole grains, seeds and beans to avoid suffering from a stroke.

Physical Activity

Regular exercise is another important aspect of lowering the chances of a stroke. Cardiovascular exercises, including swimming, jogging, yoga, biking and more, increase the level of good cholesterol in the body and improve the resilience of the arteries and the heart. Moderate activity like riding a bike, walking, or yoga is recommended every day for 30 minutes.

Reduced Salt intake

Salt intake of less than 5 grams per day for adults helps to reduce blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and coronary heart attack. The principal benefit of lowering salt intake is a corresponding reduction in high blood pressure.

No Smoking

Nicotine from cigarette smoke thickens the blood and makes it more susceptible to clot. Smoking can lead to aneurysms and is linked to lung disease, heart disease and cancer. Smoking increases the chances of ischemic attack twofold and the risk of haemorrhagic stroke fourfold. It also causes atherosclerosis (fatty deposits) in the carotid artery, which is the main blood vessel to the brain.

Weight Loss

Research has shown that people whose BMI (Body Mass Index) is over 30 are two to three times more likely to suffer from stroke compared to those with a normal weight (a BMI of less than 25). In addition, obesity also brings with it different complications like diabetes and high blood pressure, which raises the odds of having a stroke. Therefore, it is necessary to include physical exercises as part of the everyday routine.

Avoid Physical and Mental Stress

Stressful conditions can increase the risk of a stroke. Inadequate rest, long working hours, ongoing emotional stress, or physically demanding tasks can all contribute to stress, releasing hormones that raise the blood pressure and increase the probability of blood clotting. Reducing one’s stress levels with the help of meditation, yoga helps to overcome feelings of anger, resentment, hatred, or repressed animosity, all of which can also contribute to the risk of stroke.

Herbal Medicine

There are numerous herbal offerings that prevent and treat many of the conditions which can increase the likelihood of strokes. Arjuna has been traditionally used for centuries to treat heart diseases and thus got the nickname ” Gaurdian of the Heart.” The bark powder of Arjuna is rich in Co-enzyme Q-10 and has been used for ages to treat increased blood pressure. It is also known to regulate cholesterol levels and prevent both arteries and the heart from free radical damage. Chia seeds are an excellent source of healthy polyunsaturated fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids, which help in regulating high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Antioxidant-rich Green tea also prevents oxidative damage to the heart and its vessels.

Control Diabetes

Diabetes is a risk factor for stroke. The high blood sugar level in the body damages blood vessels, which makes it more likely for clots to form. To prevent strokes, it is important to keep diabetes under control. One should follow a nutritionist’s instructions, monitor the blood sugar levels, and implement other lifestyle changes, such as exercise and a healthy diet.

Good Sleep

For those who want to reduce the risk of stroke, getting an optimal amount of sleep regularly is important. Researchers at the University of Alabama found a strong link between getting less than 6 hours of sleep and a higher incidence of stroke symptoms for people over 45.

Stay Positive and Optimistic

According to scientists at Harvard University, people with positive dispositions are far less likely to suffer from heart attacks or strokes. Studies have also found a 50% reduction in cardiovascular disease for those who scored highest for optimism and vitality.

Bottom Line

For years, we have known that prevention is better than cure; it holds true even for stroke. Stroke is preventable and is a lifestyle-associated disease like most other diseases that we suffer from nowadays. So, in a way, stroke is a matter of choice and one can choose to prevent it.

– Dr HP Bharathi, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jindal Naturecure Institute.