Eating Mediterranean or DASH-style diets, regularly engaging in physical activity and keeping your blood pressure under control can lower your risk of a first-time stroke, according to updated AHA/ASA guideline published in the American Heart Association’s Journal Stroke.

The updated guidelines recommend these tips to lower risk of stroke:

  • Eat a Mediterranean or DASH-style diet, supplement with nuts.
  • Monitor high blood pressure at home with a cuff device
  • Keep pre-hypertension from becoming high blood pressure by making lifestyle changes such as getting more physical activity, eating a healthy diet and managing your weight
  • Reduce the amount of sodium in your diet; sodium is found mostly in salt
  • Visit your health care provider annually for blood pressure evaluation
  • If your medication to lower blood pressure doesn’t work or has bad side effects, talk to your health care provider about finding a combination of drugs that work for you
  • don’t smoke. Smoking and taking oral birth control pills can significantly increase your stroke risk. If you are a woman who experiences migrains with aura, smoking raises your risk of stroke even more than in the general population.