How Women Can Stay Stroke-Free

Did you know that women are up to three times more likely than men to have strokes?  There are many things to blame, i.e. fluctuating estrogen, the tendency to have more belly fat and a heightened sensitivity to cigarette smoke, stress hormones, etc.  However, there is good news.  Many new studies have found several things you can do to avoid having a stroke.

Stroll slowly.  A new study found that walking two hours a week can reduce a woman’s stroke risk by 30%.  The secret, though, is that you must walk at a slow enough pace that you can still talk comfortably.  If you push yourself to go faster, it doesn’t deliver the same stroke protection.  Walking can also help you to lose weight, which will cut your stroke risk by an additional 39%.
Eat raisins.  Raisins and other dried fruits are loaded with potassium.  Potassium can counter the negative effects of sodium which helps to prevent artery-damaging blood pressure surges.  The recommended level of consumption is 1/4 cup per day.
Eat chocolate.  A Canadian study confirmed that people who eat just 1/4 oz. of dark chocolate per day will have a 39% lower risk of having a stroke.  Dark chocolate contains flavonoids that help relax and open up blood vessels.  These compounds also  help stop cholesterol molecules from sticking to the walls of your arteries.
Drink coffee.  You can lower your risk of stroke by 30% or more if you drink one to two cups of coffee daily.  Coffee contains antioxidants that help stop platelets in your blood from sticking together.  This inhibits the formation of the clots that cause many strokes. 
Take Vitamin E supplements. Research conducted at Ohio State University suggests that vitamin E supplements can strengthen brain cells.  This makes it easier for them to weather temporarly blips in blood flow that occur during mini-strokes.  Be sure to use vitamin E supplements that are labeled “natural” or “mixed tocopherols” as they are 40 times better at protecting the brain than other types.