Individually, any one of these factors can have an impact on your stroke risk. For example, the study found that quitting smoking reduced the risk of stroke by about 50 percent, while having a glass of alcohol each day can cut the risk by 10 percent.
But, when all healthy lifestyle factors were combined, the risk of stroke dropped by about 80 percent.
"A healthy lifestyle is associated with an 80 percent lower risk for ischemic stroke compared to people who have none of these lifestyle factors," said Chiuve, who added that "more than half of ischemic strokes might have been prevented if everyone adhered to these healthy lifestyle factors."
Dr. Paul Cullis, chief of neurology at St. John Hospital in Detroit, said, "These things you can do yourself without your doctor's intervention are very important in making you healthier. This study tells us that we're in the driver's seat, and hopefully gets people more engaged in the process of trying to make themselves healthier."
The American Heart Association has more advice on what you can do to reduce your risk of stroke and heart attack.
SOURCES: Stephanie Chiuve, Sc.D., research associate, department of nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston; Paul Cullis, M.D., chief, neurology, St. John Hospital, Detroit; Aug. 26, 2008, Circulation
All rights reserved