We love sunny summer days, but high temperatures and humidity swings up the risk of an ischemic stroke, a blockage in a blood vessel to the brain. Experts suspect temperature fluxes affect the autonomic nervous system, which regulates your heart rate and blood pressure. Luckily, these moves may curb the risk.
Savor a bowl of berries and cream.
Now is the perfect time to enjoy ripe blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries with a dollop of whipped cream. The amazing side effect? Each delicious bite may help ward off strokes. Research published in the European Society of Cardiology found that eating fruit and certain types of dairy (milk, cheese, and yogurt) were each linked to a lower risk of ischemic stroke. (Remember: An ischemic stroke is a blood clot in the brain.) Other foods linked to a reduced risk included vegetables and other fiber-rich foods, like legumes and whole grains.
What makes berries a smart bet? Their anthocyanins may help widen artery walls and lower blood pressure.
Surprising but true: Keeping your gums healthy may cut stroke risk, since healthy gums tame blood-vessel inflammation. And keeping your smile in tip-top shape is as easy as chewing xylitol-sweetened gum after eating. Research in Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dentistry says it removes gum disease-causing bacteria, which helps keep your heart strong.
Boogie through your chores.
Moving and grooving as you tidy up may help slash your stroke risk. Research shows that physical activity correlates with a lower risk of strokes, and helps stroke victims rehabilitate. To get yourself started: Try replacing eight minutes of sitting with puttering about the house each hour. Dance along to three songs every time you get up, and you’ll hit that goal!
Sip a tropical mocktail.
Combine equal parts orange juice, sparkling water, and coconut water, then add a few sprigs of mint and sip. This refreshing mocktail brims with potassium, and a study in The BMJ found that a higher intake of the blood pressure-lowering nutrient was linked to a 24 percent reduced risk of stroke.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.