For many individuals living with cardiovascular ailments, stroke is a constant fear. Whether you've been suffering from a heart condition for some time or are simply trying to better your overall health, it's important to take the necessary steps to help avoid this tragic event.

Remember: You can greatly reduce your risk of suffering a stroke. Take a look at these modifications you can make to your diet, exercise regimen, and general lifestyle:

1. Maintain an even calorie balance

While it may seem overly basic, this is actually one of the most important steps you can take to reduce your likelihood of having a stroke. Many people simply eat far more than their body needs. This is easy to do, and may seem harmless, but it actually isn't. You'll want to determine how many calories your body needs and design your diet to match this. Try sitting down with your physician, a dietitian, or a personal trainer and discussing your lifestyle, such as how much you exercise, what kind of work you do each day, and the like. A healthcare provider should be able to provide recommendations about how many calories you should eat every day.

2. Avoid nutrient-poor food

According to the American Heart Association, another of the best ways to reduce your risk of stroke is by ensuring your diet is free of nutrient-poor food. These are foods that contain low nutritional value with a high caloric content. This is often the case with fast food, pre-prepared meals and processed foods, but can easily be avoided if you know what to watch out for. For example, when purchasing meat, opt for low-fat or organic options whenever possible. Replace your bag of chips with a healthier snack such as carrots or an apple. Not only will you reduce your stroke risk, but you'll also find that you have higher energy levels throughout the day.

3. Limit detrimental habits—and add in some positive ones

Other important steps towards limiting your likelihood of suffering a stroke will come from your lifestyle choices. For example, the National Stroke Association says that quitting smoking tobacco will greatly reduce your risk of stroke or other heart disease.

In addition to quitting smoking, it's imperative that you begin exercising regularly if you haven't already. You should engage in cardiovascular exercise such as running, swimming, or cycling several days per week.

Talk with your physician or cardiologist to determine appropriate exercise activity and to discuss what other behaviors you may need to change.