Mediterranean diet can lower stroke risk, especially in women.
Fruits and nuts are the key to keeping stroke away. And some fish.
One of the largest and longest-running efforts to evaluate the potential benefits of the Mediterranean-style diet in lowering risk of stroke found that the diet may be especially protective in women over 40. This is regardless of menopausal status or hormone replacement therapy, according to new research published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke.
There was also a 13 percent overall reduced risk of stroke in participants already at high risk of cardiovascular disease
Researchers from the Universities of East Anglia, Aberdeen and Cambridge collaborated in this study using key components of a traditional Mediterranean-style diet. It includes high intakes of fish, fruits and nuts, vegetables, cereal foods and potatoes and lower meat and dairy consumption.
Over a 17-year period, researchers examined participants’ diets and compared stroke risk among four groups ranked highest to lowest by how closely they adhered to a Mediterranean style diet.
In participants, who most closely followed a Mediterranean-style diet, the reduced onset of stroke was:
• 17 percent in all adults;
• 22 percent in women; and
• 6 percent in men (which researchers said could have been due to chance).
“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,” said Ailsa A. Welch, Ph.D., study lead author and professor of nutritional epidemiology at the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom.
She added: “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.”
There was also a 13 percent overall reduced risk of stroke in participants already at high risk of cardiovascular disease across all four groups of the Mediterranean-diet scores.