Can a high protein diet protect against stroke?

A new analysis has revealed that diets high in animal protein can reduce the risk of a stroke by 20 per cent and provides twice the benefit in comparison to vegetable protein

A new analysis by the Nanjing University School of Medicine suggests that diets high in protein can reduce a person’s risk of stroke.

People with high amounts of animal protein were 20% less likely to suffer from a stroke, compared to those who ate little or no protein. According to the study, for every extra 20g of protein consumed, the risk of stroke decreased by 26%. Study author Xinfeng Liu explained: ‘If everyone’s protein intake were at this level, that would translate to more than 1.4 million fewer deaths from stroke each year worldwide, plus a decreased level of disability from stroke’

The research concluded that animal protein offers twice the protective benefit than vegetable proteins do. However, stroke experts warned against taking the findings too literally.

Dr Ralph Saco, chair of neurology at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, said: ‘I don’t think this study means to the public you should run out and start eating burgers and red meat’ This is because some animal protein sources also come with high levels of saturated fat, which can increase the risk of stroke.Raw fish with lemon and parsley isolated on white background

Liu said that two of the seven studies took place in Japan and a third took place in Sweden, where people tend to eat more fish than red meat. Fish have previously been linked to reduced stroke risk, while red meat consumption has been shown to increase the chances of suffering a stroke.

Sacco said: ‘The nutrient appears to help protect against hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure and diabetes, all of which are risk factors for stroke’

The new review looked at previous research on the relationship between protein in the diet and the risk of stroke. Seven studies involving more than 250,000 participants were included in the analysis.

The results, which are published online June 11 in the journal Neurology, accounted for other factors that could affect the risk of stroke, such as smoking and high cholesterol, the study authors said.

The investigators found in their analysis that animal protein reduced stroke risk by 29 percent, while vegetable protein lowered risk about 12 percent. However, the study only found an association between protein intake and stroke risk because it was not designed to prove a cause-and-effect link.

Animal proteins are considered to be complete because they contain all the amino acids needed by humans, while most sources of vegetable protein are not complete.

But vegetable proteins also come with lower amounts of saturated fat. Dr. Arturo Tamayo, an assistant professor of neurology at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, said that people will do themselves no favor if they pay attention only to protein intake without considering other dietary risk factors for stroke.

Saturated fat, salt and sugar all have been shown to increase a person’s risk of stroke, he said. People who smoke or drink also are at increased risk.

READ MORE: How much protein is in your food?

< Back

Also in this week’s magazine

5 important full body stretches you can do right now FEATURED
Wellness

5 important full body stretches you can do right now

Sore neck? Aching back? If you're spending all day slouched over a desk, you need to try these 5 important full body stretches

How to get fit at 50 - Hollywood stuntman & team GB athlete reveals 10 things you need to know FEATURED
Fitness

How to get fit at 50 – Hollywood stuntman & team GB athlete reveals 10 things you need to know

How to get fit in your 50's - Hollywood stuntman & GB athlete Nicholas Daines is in the best shape of his life. Here are 10 things he wants you to know

5 ways to ease anxiety during menopause FEATURED
Menopause

5 ways to ease anxiety during menopause

Anxiety is one of the many symptoms that can appear during menopause. Nutritionist Rosie Millen reveals 5 ways to reduce anxiety during menopause

Health

Stress symptoms? 7 instant fixes you can do at your desk

Stress symptoms making you miserable? From neck stretches to candles, osteopath Kemmy Gichaba reveals 7 instant stress fixes you can do at your desk

Medical Doctor reveals 5 daily habits that could be harming your mental health FEATURED
Mood and Mind

Front-line doctor reveals 6 ways to manage your mood post-pandemic

Mental Health Awareness - Dr Emeka, medical doctor and brand Ambassador for fitness app Freeletics, reveals 6 ways to manage your mood post-pandemic

10 perimenopause symptoms that could explain your moods, aches and low libido FEATURED (1)
Menopause

10 perimenopause symptoms that could explain your moods, aches and low libido

The average age for menopause in the UK is 52, but symptoms of perimenopause - the lead up to it - strike up to 15 years before. London GP Deyo Famuboni describes the 10 symptoms of perimenopause to watch for

Latest Video Series

Healthista-footer

Wellness Weekly

I agree to my personal data being stored and used to receive the Healthista newsletter.

Top