Red meat linked to higher risk of stroke

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By David Liu, PHD

Monday Aug 27, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- Not all proteins are made equal when it comes to how they may affect risk of stroke.  A new study in the journal Stroke suggests that replacing red meat with other dietary sources of protein may reduce the risk of stroke.  It is only a possibility because the study is not a trial and a causal relation could not be established in the study.

The study led by Adam M. Bernstein of the Wellness Institute of the Cleveland Clinic (A.B.) in Lyndhurst, OH and colleagues showed that higher intake of read meat was associated with increased risk of stroke where higher intake of poultry was correlated with a lower risk.

The authors say few studies had examined the association between protein-rich foods and risk of stroke. The current study was to examine how consumption of different types of protein sources may affect the risk of stroke.

Berstein et al. prospectively followed 84,010 women aged 30 to 55 years at the baseline and 43,150 men aged 40 to 75 years at the baseline.  All patients were free of cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  Dietary information was collected from the patients through a validated food frequency questionnaire.   During 22 and 26 years of follow-up in men and women, respectively, 1397 and 2633 stroke cases were recorded, respectively.  

It was found that compared with one serving of red meat per day, one serving of poultry per day was correlated with 27 percent reduced risk for stroke and one serving of nuts per day with a 17 percent reduced risk, and one serving of fish per day with a 17 percent reduced risk. The replacement of one serving per day with one serving of low fat dairy products or whole fat dairy products per day was also associated with a 11 and 10 percent reduced risk, respectively.
 
Interestingly, eggs and legumes seemed as risky as red meat when it comes to how they may affect the risk of stroke because replacing red meat with either eggs or legumes did not change the risk.

The researchers concluded "These data suggest that stroke risk may be reduced by replacing red meat with other dietary sources of protein."

Stroke is a major killer in the United States.

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