The Connection between Dairy Products and Risk of Stroke

By: Bel Marra Health | Heart Disease | Monday, April 30, 2012 - 12:50 AM

Dairy and the impact on heart diseaseA stroke can be a devastating event and people are always looking for natural heart remedies to help reduce the chance of having one. New research published in the journal, Stroke, states that natural heart remedies to lower your risk of suffering a stroke should include eating low fat dairy in addition to other heart healthy foods. With the aging population, natural heart remedies should be adopted by all adults in an effort to reduce the risk of stroke.

Dairy and the Impact on Heart Disease

The recent study involved nearly 75,000 participants ranging in age from 45-83 with no history of heart disease, stroke or cancer at the beginning of the study. The participants were followed over 10 years and during this time just over 4,000 participants suffered a stroke. Data was collected from the Swedish Hospital Discharge Registry. Approximately 75% of the strokes were classified as ischemic strokes. An ischemic stroke occurs when an artery supplying the brain becomes blocked. The remaining strokes were classified as hemorrhagic in nature which involves a blood vessel in the brain bursting. Both types of stroke can result in debilitating damage.

The researchers found that individuals who ate heart healthy foods, including four servings of low fat dairy had a significantly decreased risk of stroke (approximately 12% less) compared to individuals who ate high fat dairy. The interesting part of this finding is that even individuals that had high blood pressure had a significantly reduced stroke risk when they consumed low fat dairy.

Low fat milk, cheese and yogurt may work as heart healthy foods by lowering blood pressure. High blood pressure is a risk for stroke. Therefore, lowering blood pressure will lower stroke risk. These heart healthy foods are usually fortified with Vitamin D that can also help promote good health. Dairy products also contain calcium which may also help promote healthy living. Future research should focus on the mechanism by which low fat dairy reduces stroke risk. If additional research supports the findings of this large study, it could have significant implications for the diets of healthy adults. For now, consuming low fat dairy in addition to other heart healthy foods looks like it could have a positive impact on stroke risk. Instead of reaching for a glass of regular milk, opt for the low fat variety instead.

It is important to remember that eating heart healthy foods, including low fat dairy, as part of a healthy diet is only one part of reducing the risk of a stroke. Other options include incorporating regular physical activity into your routine as well as modifying other lifestyle factors such as quitting smoking and reducing stress. By making health changes to your lifestyle, you can reduce your chance of suffering a life-altering stroke.

Related Reading: Unusual signs of stroke in women

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