Plant-Based Diet May Protect Against Stroke

If you have had a stroke or want to lower your risk for one, the case for eating more fruits, vegetables, and other healthy plant foods—and cutting back on meat and other animal products—gets stronger every year. A recent study published in Neurology adds to the evidence that a plant-based diet can reduce the odds of a stroke and preserve overall brain health. The study also indicates that the types of plant-based foods consumed may make a difference.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Earlier studies have looked at the benefits of plant-based diets, but this one focused on the quality of those diets, says Kathryn M. Rexrode, MD, senior author of the study and a family physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “Not all plant-based diets are healthy,” she notes. “After all, you can be a vegetarian and eat pasta and cake all day.”

Dr. Rexrode and colleagues at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston studied the diets of 209,508 men and women over a roughly 25-year period and found that people who ate mostly fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes (such as beans), and nuts reduced their overall risk for stroke by 10 percent. By contrast, they found no benefit against stroke among people who ate six daily servings of refined grains (such as white pasta and rice), potatoes (which convert to sugar rapidly in the body), fruit juice and sugar-sweetened beverages, and sugary desserts.

“If everyone in the United States followed healthy plant-based diets, we could see a reduction of about 80,000 strokes per year,” says Dr. Rexrode. “As someone who has seen the devastating impact of stroke on individuals and families, that sounds like a pretty substantial impact, and a reason to focus on diet.” Every year nearly 800,000 Americans experience a stroke, and survivors stand a one in four chance of having a second one.

3 Comments

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3 responses to “Plant-Based Diet May Protect Against Stroke

  1. A friend decided one day to switch to a vegetarian diet. (He probably read some helpful information like this blogging site.) Within a short time he no longer needed his heart medication, his blood pressure medicine or his insulin injections.
    He did not tell his doctor about his change of diet because he wasn’t open to hearing about alternative to western medication. He waited till the doctor’s curiosity got the better of him.
    One day in one of my friend’s regular doctor visit he finally popped the question. What are you doing that has cleared up your incurable medical conditions.
    Whether that was an epiphany for the family doctor, I don’t know. Did he now start giving his patients an alternative? Don’t know. But he couldn’t refute the overwhelming evidence sitting in front of him.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great article , I wrote a similar article

    Like

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