A Mediterranean diet may help lower a woman’s risk of stroke

New research has found more evidence to suggest that following a Mediterranean-style may have benefits for health. (AFPRelaxnews pic)

AFP Relaxnews

New large-scale UK research has found that following the popular Mediterranean-style diet may help to reduce the risk of stroke for women over 40, although the same benefits were not found for men.

Led by the University of East Anglia along with the Universities of Cambridge and Aberdeen, the new research is one of the largest, long-term studies to investigate the potential benefits of a Mediterranean-style diet on stroke risk, looking at 23,232 adults aged between 40 and 77 over a 17-year period.

Participants were asked to keep a diet diary over seven days, a method which had not been used before in such a large sample size and which is more precise than the alternative method of food-frequency questionnaires.

The team then classified the participants into four groups, ranked from those that had the highest adherence to a Mediterranean style diet to those who had the lowest adherence, and compared the stroke risk between each group.

The findings, published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke, showed that across all participants those who most closely followed a Mediterranean-style diet benefited from a 17% risk of stroke.

For women this was reduction was even greater, 22%, however, men showed just a 6% reduction in stroke risk, which the researchers said could have been due to chance.

The results also suggest that the diet may be especially beneficial for women over 40, regardless of menopausal status or hormone replacement therapy.

In addition, those who already had a high risk of cardiovascular disease also showed a 13% overall reduced risk of stroke, however once again women appeared to benefit more than men, showing a 20% reduced stroke risk.

Although previous research has found evidence that the Mediterranean diet may help lower the risk of stroke, the researchers noted that few studies have investigated whether this protective effect differs by sex or cardiovascular disease risk.

“This research shows us that following a Mediterranean-style diet rich in fish, fruits and nuts, vegetables and beans, and lower in meat and dairy, may reduce stroke risk for women over 40,” commented lead researcher Prof Ailsa Welch. “But a healthy, balanced diet is important for everyone both young and old.”

“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,” added Prof Welch.

“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.”

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Lifestyle News: A Mediterranean diet may help lower a woman’s risk of stroke
A Mediterranean diet may help lower a woman’s risk of stroke
Lifestyle News
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