Did you know, 50,000 Australians suffer a stroke annually? it’s one of the leading causes of death in the country. Thankfully, over 80% of these cases can be prevented with sensible lifestyle choices and medical care. Here are the most common risk factors and how you can do your part to help make Australia a stroke-free zone.

Poor diet

An unbalanced or unhealthy diet can contribute to many conditions associated with strokes, such as diabetes, obesity,
and high blood pressure. The biggest culinary culprits to watch out for include:

  • Processed sugar: very common in soft drinks, salad dressings, and snacks. Limit yourself to no more than 6 teaspoons a day or consider natural alternatives like Stevia. Also, check the nutritional labels of any products you buy to avoid unplanned sugar rushes.
  • Alcohol: most experts recommend no more than three drinks per week. Natural sodas or juices can substitute the strong, bitter taste of your favourite alcoholic beverages.
  • Salt: although fine in moderation, many supermarket items are loaded with excess sodium, such as canned beans, sauces, and pastes. Seasoning your meals with pepper, oregano, garlic and other natural spices will give you the same great taste without the negative side effects.

The easiest way to limit these is to curb your consumption of take-out food or packaged snacks. Preparing your own meals at home or carrying a stash of fresh fruit or nuts can help satiate your cravings while avoiding “junk food”.

Smoking

Cigarette smoke is harmful to your entire body and can significantly increase your risk of a stroke. The best step you can take is to look into quitting; the national Quitline (13QUIT) offers counselling services to help with that. However, the urge to smoke often comes from everyday triggers like stress, boredom, or social pressure, so it’s a good idea to keep a log of where and when you smoke. Understanding what makes your body crave nicotine is the first step towards controlling your temptations and kicking the habit for good.

Lifestyle

Regular exercise goes a long way towards reducing conditions associated with stroke. On top of dedicating time for planned workouts, you can stay active throughout the day with simple strategies like:

  • taking the stairs over elevators
  • using a standing desk while working
  • finding a “workout buddy” to make exercise more sociable
  • replacing short rides with walking instead.

Please remember that any advice is general in nature only and has been prepared without considering your needs, objectives or financial situation. Before acting on it you should consider its appropriateness for you, considering those factors. If you aren’t sure who to reach out to, please give one of the Inspired Money Team a call at 08 6222 7909 and they will be more than ready to assist you.