Eating high amounts of red, processed meats and animal fat increases the risk of stroke, while consuming vegetable fat or polyunsaturated fat reduces it, according to research to be presented at the Scientific Sessions of the
American Heart Association 2021.
“Our conclusions indicate that the type of fat and the different dietary sources of it are more important than the total amount in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, including stroke,” says Fenglei Wang, lead author of the study and researcher at the School. Chan of Harvard Public Health of Boston.
The study looked at 11,7136 participants over 27 years, with a mean age of 50, 63% female, 97% white, and all free of heart disease and cancer at the time of enrollment.
Every 4 years, the participants filled out questionnaires on their eating habits that were used to calculate the amount, source and types of fats they habitually consumed.
During the study, 6,189 participants suffered strokes, including 2,967 ischemic strokes (caused by a thrombus that cuts off blood flow to part of the brain) and 814 hemorrhagic strokes (bleeding from vessels in the brain).
Participants with the highest percentage of non-dairy animal fat intake were 16% more likely to have a stroke than those who ate the least.
Milk fat from products such as cheese, butter, milk, ice cream and cream was not associated with an increased risk of stroke.
The researchers also found that people who ate the most vegetable fat and polyunsaturated fat were 12% less likely to have a stroke compared to those who ate the least.
Thus, milk fat in products such as cheese, butter, milk, ice cream and cream was not associated with an increased risk of stroke.
However, people who ate a higher serving of total red meat every day had an 8% higher risk of stroke, and those who ate a higher serving of processed red meat had a 12% higher risk of stroke .
«These results suggest that, in general, you should reduce the consumption of red and processed meat, minimize the fatty parts of raw meat, if consumed, and replace lard with non-tropical vegetable oils such as olive oil, corn or soybean oils in the kitchen to reduce the risk of stroke, “adds Wang.
“Many processed meats are high in salt and saturated fat and low in vegetable fat. Research encourages replacing processed meat with other protein sources, particularly plant sources, is associated with lower death rates, “adds Alice H. Lichtenstein, from the
Tufts university (EE.UU).
“The key characteristics of a heart-healthy diet pattern are balancing calorie intake with energy needs to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, choosing whole grains, lean and plant-based proteins, and a variety of fruits and vegetables; in addition to limiting salt, sugar, animal fat, processed foods and alcohol.
The study is observational, so the results cannot establish a cause-and-effect link between fat intake and risk of stroke.