Type Of Fat, Not Amount, Linked To Stroke, Experts Say

By Jason Hall

November 8, 2021

Photo: Getty Images

New research suggests a specific type of fat in the diet, not the amount consumed, may be the most important factor linked to stroke risk.

A study led by Fenglei Wang, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, concluded that consuming more aninal fat led to a greater risk of stroke, while individuals eating more vegetable sources were at a lower risk, NBC News reports.

“If everyone could make small modifications such as reducing red and processed meat intake, the implication for public health will be huge,” Wang said.

The findings were presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2021 on Monday (November 8), but have yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, according to NBC News.

Stroke is currently the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. and nutritionists have studied how a person's diet leads to the deadly disease for years.

The study included 27 years worth of data sourced to more than 117,000 health care professionals and pulled from the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study -- two of the longest-running nutritional studies in the U.S. -- which include participants completing questionnaires related to diets and submitting medical records.

Stroke occurs when blood flow is cut off to a part of the person's brian and takes place in two forms: an ischemic stroke -- a blood clot, which accounts for nearly 90% of annual strokes -- or a hemorrhagic stroke, which is a rupturing of a blood vessel.

The study concluded that higher intake of vegetables led to a lower risk of ischemic stroke, with individuals who consumed more vegetable and polyunsaturated fats being about 12% less likely to suffer an ischemic stroke than those who consumed less vegetables.

You can read more about the study here.

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