Different types of food are linked to risks of different types of stroke, say researchers, adding that higher intakes of fruit, vegetables and dairy products is linked to a lower risk of ischaemic stroke.
For the study, published in the European Heart Journal, the researchers picked over 4,18,000 people in nine European countries and investigated ischaemic stroke and haemorrhagic stroke separately.
The study found that while higher intakes of fruit, vegetables, fibre, milk, cheese or yoghurt were each linked to a lower risk of ischaemic stroke, there was no significant association with a lower risk of haemorrhagic stroke.
However, greater consumption of eggs was associated with a higher risk of haemorrhagic stroke, but not with ischaemic stroke, the researchers said.
“Our study also highlights the importance of examining stroke subtypes separately, as the dietary associations differ for ischaemic and haemorrhagic stroke, and is consistent with other evidence, which shows that other risk factors, such as cholesterol levels or obesity, also influence the two stroke subtypes differently,” said study first author Tammy Tong from University of Oxford in the UK.
Ischaemic stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery supplying blood to the brain or forms somewhere else in the body and travels to the brain where it blocks blood flow.
Haemorrhagic stroke occurs when there is bleeding in the brain that damages nearby cells. About 85 per cent of strokes are ischaemic and 15 per cent are haemorrhagic. Stroke is the second leading cause of deaths worldwide.
For the findings, the research team analysed data from 418,329 men and women in nine countries (Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the UK) who were recruited to the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study between 1992 and 2000.
The participants completed questionnaires asking about diet, lifestyle, medical history and socio-demographic factors, and were followed up for an average of 12.7 years.
During this time, there were 4,281 cases of ischaemic stroke and 1,430 cases of haemorrhagic stroke.
The total amount of fibre (including fibre from fruit, vegetables, cereal, legumes, nuts and seeds) that people ate was associated with the greatest potential reduction in the risk of ischaemic stroke, the researchers said.
Every 10g more intake of fibre a day was associated with a 23 per cent lower risk, which is equivalent to around two fewer cases per 1,000 of the population over 10 years, they added.
Fruit and vegetables alone were associated with a 13 per cent lower risk for every 200g eaten a day, which is equivalent to one less case per 1,000 of the population over 10 years.
No foods were linked to a statistically significant higher risk of ischaemic stroke.
The researchers found that for every extra 20g of eggs consumed a day there was a 25 per cent higher risk of haemorrhagic stroke.
The researchers said the associations they found between different foods and ischaemic and haemorrhagic stroke might be explained partly by the effects on blood pressure and cholesterol.
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