Sunday, January 8, 2012

Red meat linked to high stroke risk - study

By David Liu, PHD

Saturday Jan 7, 2012 ( -- A new study in the journal Stroke suggests that eating too much red meat may drastically increase risk of stroke.

The study led by Adam M. Bernstein, MD, ScD of the Wellness Institute of the Cleveland Clinic and colleagues found high intake of red meat was associated with an elevated risk of stroke while eating poultry was correlated with a reduced risk.

For the study, researchers followed 84, 010 women aged 30 to 55 years at baseline and 43,150 men aged 40 to 75 years who at baseline had no diagnosed cancer, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease, for 26 and 22 years respectively.  During the follow-up, 2633 and 1397 strokes occurred in women and men respectively.

The researchers found that compared to consumption of one serving per day of red meat, one serving per day of poultry, nuts, fish, low-fat dairy and whole fat dairy cut the risk of stroke by 27, 17, 17, 11, and 10 percent, respectively.

However, when legumes and eggs replaced red meat, the risk remained the same.  Caution needs to be exercised when interpreting this finding.  Legumes were consumed in small quantity and it may not play any significant role in the risk for stroke, a health observer suggested.

The findings indicate that red meat eaters may cut their risk for stroke if they opt to eat poultry, fish, but and dairy products instead of red meat.

Stroke is a leading cause of death in the U.S.  More than 800,000 Americans die each year from cardiovascular disease and strokes. In the U.S., about 800,000 people have a stroke.

Symptoms of a stroke include sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding, sudden trouble seeing in on or both eyes, sudden trouble walking, feeling dizzy, losing balance or coordination and sudden severe headache without known causes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.