Mediterranean-Style Diet Linked to Lower Stroke Risk

Following a Mediterranean-style diet may reduce stroke risk in women over 40, according to a new study published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke.

A Mediterranean-style diet refers to a diet that contains more fish, fruits and nuts, vegetables, cereal foods and potatoes, and less meat and dairy.

The study was conducted by researchers from UEA and the University of Aberdeen and the University of Cambridge. The study examined 23,232 participants that are all white adults and aged from 40 to 77 over 17 years. The researchers divided them into four groups ranked highest to lowest by how closely they adhered to a Mediterranean style diet.

Through comparative study, they found that in participants who most closely followed a Mediterranean-style diet, the rate of developing a stroke had reduced by 17 percent in all adults, 22 percent in women; and 6 percent in men. But they said the reduced rate in man might due to chance.

“This research shows us that following a Mediterranean-style diet rich in fish, fruits and nuts, vegetables and beans, and lower in meat and dairy, may reduce stroke risk for women over 40,” Prof Ailsa Welch, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, lead researcher of the study, “But a healthy, balanced diet is important for everyone both young and old.”

She continued: “It is unclear why we found differences between women and men, but it could be that components of the diet may influence men differently than women. We are also aware that different sub-types of stroke may differ between genders. Our study was too small to test for this, but both possibilities deserve further study in the future.”

Prof Phyo Myint, co-author of the paper, from the University of Aberdeen, said: “Our findings provide clinicians and the public with information regarding the potential benefit of eating a Mediterranean-style diet for stroke prevention, regardless of cardiovascular risk.”

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