Healthy eating

Eating a healthy diet can help reduce your stroke risk. Diet affects weight, blood pressure and diabetes, which are all directly linked to stroke risk.

man and woman with plates of food
Eating well can help us feel our best, use our tips and practical advice to help eat better every day.

Healthy eating tips

There are self-help strategies, resources and organisations to help make things a little easier for you, some of them can be found below. Ask your GP about specific advice for you.

Healthy eating tips are summarised in this infographic.

1. Fruit and veg: eat the rainbow

  • Vary the colours and types of fruit and veg you eat.
  • Have 5 portions of fruit and veg a day, fresh or frozen.
  • Fruit and veg should make up about a third of your food.
man with pictures of fruit around him

2. Starchy food (potatoes, bread, rice, pasta) should make up about a third of your food

  • Choose wholegrain varieties, like brown rice.
  • Starchy foods are a good source of energy.
shopping basket full of food

3. Healthy sources of protein (beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat)

  • Beans and pulses are good alternatives to meat as they are low in fat.
  • Aim for 2 portions of fish per week, one of which is oily.
  • Eat less red and processed meat, like sausages and bacon.
  • Remove skin and visible fat from meat.
Man with hand held out

4. Reduce your salt intake

  • Lots of salt can increase your blood pressure, high blood pressure is a risk factor for stroke.
  • Try not to add extra salt to a meal.
  • Where possible eat fresh rather than processed foods.
picture of junk food

5. Mediterranean style diet is associated with reduced stroke risk

woman holding a flag with fruit on it

Practical tips

1. Small swaps

Just one or two everyday swaps can make a difference. For example:

  • 1% fat milk has about half the fat of semi-skimmed milk.
  • Swap to brown bread/ rice/ pasta: wholegrain food contains more fibre and can help us feel full for longer.
  • Choose lean cuts of meat or leaner mince.
junk food

2. Keep hydrated

  • Aim to drink 6-8 glasses of fluid a day.
  • Water is healthy and cheap.
  • Plain tea, fruit tea and coffee (without added sugar) count.
  • Flavour water with fresh fruit rather than sugary squash.
  • Avoid sugary and fruit drinks.
man sat down with a drink in his hand

3. Think about what motivates you

  • People will have different motivations: write yours down and re-read them.
  • Remember how good you feel when you eat healthy and are active.
woman with pad and pencil

4. Be active

  • Physical activity can improve your mood and energy levels.
  • Keeping busy helps take your mind off food cravings.

Visit the Be active page for more information and tips.

woman on a bicycle

5. Plan and prepare your meals

  • You are much more likely to eat well if you have planned your meals in advance.
  • Write a meal plan and shopping list for the week.
  • Prepare healthy snacks; for example, cut up a pepper to keep in the fridge for a snack.
shopping basket full of food

6. Don't let one slip up throw you off course

  • Nobody is perfect, just pick up where you left off.
  • Don’t completely deprive yourself of certain foods, this can cause you to obsess over what you can’t have.
woman sat with her head on the table, holding a flag with a turned down smile emoji

Helpful resources


These apps are recommended by the NHS

Weight loss

Make healthy food choices


Track your alcoholic drinks