Diet higher in protein may be linked to lower risk of stroke

Micrograph showing cortical pseudolaminar necrosis, a finding seen in strokes on medical imaging and at autopsy. H&E-LFB stain. Credit: Nephron/Wikipedia

People with diets higher in protein, especially from fish, may be less likely to have a stroke than those with diets lower in protein, according to a meta-analysis published in the June 11, 2014, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

"The amount of protein that led to the reduced risk was moderate—equal to 20 grams per day," said study author Xinfeng Liu, MD, PhD, of Nanjing University School of Medicine in Nanjing, China. "Additional, larger studies are needed before definitive recommendations can be made, but the evidence is compelling."

The meta-analysis looked at all of the available research on the relationship between protein in the diet and the risk of . Seven studies with a total of 254,489 participants who were followed for an average of 14 years were included in the analysis.

Overall, the participants with the highest amount of protein in their diets were 20 percent less likely to develop a stroke than those with the lowest amount of protein in their diets. The results accounted for other factors that could affect the risk of stroke, such as smoking and high cholesterol. For every additional 20 grams per day of protein that people ate, their risk of stroke decreased by 26 percent.

"If everyone's were at this level, that would translate to more than 1.4 million fewer deaths from stroke each year worldwide, plus a decreased level of disability from stroke," said Liu.

Liu noted that the analysis does not support increased consumption of , which has been associated with increased . Two of the studies were conducted in Japan, where people eat less red meat than westerners do and more fish, which has been associated with decreased risk of stroke.

"These results indicate that stroke risk may be reduced by replacing red meat with other protein sources, such as fish," Liu said.

The reduced risk of stroke was stronger for than vegetable .

Protein has the effect of lowering blood pressure, which may play a role in reducing stroke risk, Liu said.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Can citrus ward off your risk of stroke?

Feb 14, 2014

Eating foods that contain vitamin C may reduce your risk of the most common type of hemorrhagic stroke, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 66th Annual Meeting ...

Recommended for you

Neuroscientist develops brain vitality index

4 hours ago

Why is it we are happy to talk about our physical health, like exercise and diet but we are not comfortable talking about brain health? One measure of body health is the body mass index (BMI) but what single ...

New tools help neuroscientists analyze 'big data'

23 hours ago

In an age of "big data," a single computer cannot always find the solution a user wants. Computational tasks must instead be distributed across a cluster of computers that analyze a massive data set together. ...

User comments