We talked to Kathy Cohen and Judy Chau, Registered Dieticians in the Toronto Western Hospital Stroke Program to get their best tips on healthy eating habits for stroke prevention.

Fresh is best

  • Choose foods low in sodium such as unprocessed lean meats, fish and vegetables and fruit.
  • Flavour foods with herbs and spices instead of adding salt (sodium chloride).
  • Limit intake of hidden sodium sources found in processed meats, canned soups, many sauces, salty snacks, fast foods and frozen dinners.
  • Read food labels and look for foods with less than 200 mg per serving size of sodium and less than 10% DV (Daily Value).
  • A diet high in sodium can increase your blood pressure.

No transfat and that's that!

  • Avoid foods with transfats such as shortening, certain margarines, some fast foods and store bought baked goods. Avoid foods containing the word hydrogenated in the ingredients.
  • Transfats increase your bad cholesterol and decrease your good cholesterol.

Omega-3s please

  • Include foods rich in Omega-3 fats such as salmon, herring, trout, mackerel and sardines 2- 3 times per week. Including these in your diet can lower triglycerides in addition to other important heart healthy benefits.

Just a few pats of those heart-healthy fats

  • Choose heart healthy fats and oils in moderation like canola oil, avocado, non-hydrogenated margarine and unsalted nuts and seeds.
  • Too much fat in your diet may lead to weight gain. A healthy weight is important for stroke prevention.

On the leaner side

  • Choose low fat dairy products such as 1% or skim milk 0% M.F. (milk fat) yogurt, cheeses with less fat than 8% M.F. and lean sources meat and poultry. These foods are low in saturated fat and may improve your cholesterol levels.
  • Including lower fat dairy products and lean meats can help with blood pressure control.
  • Limit intake of foods high in saturated fat such as high fat dairy products, fatty meats, poultry skin, high fat cheeses, butter, palm and coconut oils.
  • Saturated fats may raise your bad cholesterol.

Fibre makes everything work better

  • Choose foods high in soluble fibre like oat bran, oatmeal, barley, psyllium, legumes and some vegetables and fruit. Including foods high in fibre can improve your cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
  • Choose foods high in insoluble fibre like wheat bran, whole grain breads and cereals, flaxseeds and vegetables and fruit. Including foods high in insoluble fibre can help prevent constipation and may help with weight management.
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