Healthy Lifestyle Choices May Cut Women's Stroke Risk

Check your watch, and take a look around at what's happening for the next four minutes. It's the amount of time you might spend cooking something on the stove, watching a commercial break during a TV program, or waiting for the light to change at a busy intersection. It's also an important marker for something else. Every four minutes someone in the United States dies from a stroke.

If you want to reduce your risk for a stroke, adopting five healthy habits can cut your risk for a stroke in half. In a study published in the journal Neurology, researchers found that women who followed a healthy diet, limited alcohol, didn't smoke, exercised regularly, and maintained a healthy body weight cut their risk for a stroke by 54 percent. Here's a little more about these five healthy habits.

1.Eat Healthy.

Eating a healthy diet means your meals include plenty of fruits and vegetables, some low-fat dairy foods, and other healthy options like lean meats, fish, and whole grains. If you're committed to eating healthy, but don't want to mess with all the prep work in the kitchen, check out the selection of calorie-friendly and tasty Portion Controlled meals at MagicKitchen.com.

2.Avoid or Limit Alcohol.

Skipping alcohol all together is best for your health. However, if you do drink women should have no more than two drinks per day. Zero if pregnant.

3. Don't Smoke.

Fortunately, smoking has declined significantly over the past 20 years, thanks to a nationwide anti-smoking campaign funded by tobacco companies. Smoking damages your lungs, decreased bone density, causes cancer, and increases your risk for a stroke.

4.Exercise Regularly.

In the study, researchers considered a minimum of 40 minutes of physical activity a day regular exercise. Try walking, biking, swimming, or dancing. Even yard work or vigorous house cleaning can count as exercise.

5. Maintain a Healthy Weight.

If you need to lose weight, these healthy habits can help tip the scale in the right direction. In the study, researchers used Body Mass Index to as a way to determine if someone was normal weight, overweight, or obese. Use this calculator from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to determine your Body Mass Index.

Adopting all five of these healthy habits will have the greatest impact on reducing your risk for a stroke. If you're not quite ready to adopt all five, aim to make at least two or three a regular part of your life, and you'll still lower your risk for a stroke.