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Medical Edge: Stop Stroke Foods

CINCINNATI (Liz Bonis) -- Memorial Day 2014, weekend kicks off the unofficial start to summer and if your goal is to improve your health, a few simple additions to your diet might help bring down your blood pressure.
When it comes to reducing stroke risk a combination of relaxation and cardiovascular exercise can help make a difference.

Arlene Zoglio knows, "It ranges sometimes from 148 to 186, and I think with exercise that helps a lot, and I tend to have anxiety so yoga is a very good thing for me too."

These activities help get the blood pumping and help bring down blood pressure, something critical to lowering stroke and heart attack risk.

Tracie Saelinger said, "Because when you have high blood pressure you have a lot of pressure on the walls of the artery, and that can be dangerous if there is plaque build up."

Part of the benefit to that exercise isn't just in getting the blood to pump through your heart and help bring the blood pressure down, it's that it can also help you lose some weight.  And if you drop just a few pounds it takes pressure off  your heart. 

If you'd like an additional benefit, researchers recommend six foods you might want to add to your diet to help reduce your blood pressure.  These foods are part of the "DASH diet" which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.  They include strawberries (loaded with vitamin C), spinach (packed with potassium), whole wheat bread (with B vitamins), and low fat yogurt which contains calcium.  Nuts or legumes such as beans make the list and so does salmon which has good healthy fats.
Combine these foods with stress management and other activity such as the kind Doris Uhlman does regularly.

"I do a lot of cardio, I do a lot of swim exercises," she tells Local 12's Liz Bonis.

And you are taking at least the steps you can take to stop a stroke.  Blood pressure guidelines now suggest that healthy numbers are no higher than about 120 over 80.

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