• Stroke contributes to 1 out of every 20 deaths in the U.S. every year
  • The nation loses someone to stroke every  4 minutes
  • Per a new study, vegetarian diet tied to reduced stroke risk

Stroke affects over 795,000 Americans and about 140,000 of them die every year. It is the fifth leading cause of death in the nation. A new study reported that consuming a vegetarian diet lowers stroke risk.

The study included the members of the Tzu Chi Buddhist community in Taiwan who consumed vegetarian diets and were followed for seven years. The researchers identified stroke events and other comorbidities via the National Health Insurance Research Database.

The results suggested that vegetarians had lower serum vitamin B12 and higher folate and homocysteine compared to those who consumed a non-vegetarian diet. Vegetarians were found to have experienced a lower risk of overall stroke.

Most of them had refrained from smoking and alcohol consumption, eliminating one source of possible confounding.

"Overall, our study found that a vegetarian diet was beneficial and reduced the risk of ischemic stroke, even after adjusting for known risk factors like blood pressure, blood glucose levels and fats in the blood," MedPageToday quoted Chin-Lon Lin, MD, of Tzu Chi University in Hualien’s statement. "This could mean that perhaps there is some other protective mechanism that may be protecting those who eat a vegetarian diet from a stroke."

The results of this study contradict several other pieces of research. For example, one study reported that the Mediterranean diet was associated with lower stroke risk in women and another meta-analysis mentioned that meatless diets reduced blood pressure.

Also, the EPIC-Oxford study reported a higher stroke risk for vegetarians. But the authors of this study explain that a majority of vegetarians in the EPIC-Oxford study consumed varying degrees of alcohol.

Vegetarians, in general, have lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and lower rates of type 2 diabetes and hypertension compared to meat consumers. People consuming a vegetarian diet also tend to have a lower BMI and reduced risk of cancer and several chronic diseases, WebMD mentioned.

Consuming a non-meat diet might help lower the risk of metabolic syndrome including type 2 diabetes and obesity and can offer a wide range of health benefits, Medical News Today mentioned.

To get benefited from a vegetarian diet, consume a variety of healthy plant-based foods including vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, and legumes. And cut down on unhealthy food options such as refined grains and sugar-sweetened foods, the Mayo Clinic said.

Vegetarian Diet
A vegetarian diet could do wonders for your intenstinal flora. The prebiotics in vegetables encourage your stomach to produce more beneficial bacteria. silviarita / Pixabay