Higher Protein Intake Lowers Stroke Risk

Eating lots of protein may help lower the risk of stroke, according to a new study. New research reveals that people who eat more protein, especially in the form of fish, are less likely to suffer stroke than those with diets lower in protein.

“The amount of protein that led to the reduced risk was moderate-equal to 20 grams per day,” lead researcher Xinfeng Liu, MD, PhD, of Nanjing University School of Medicine in Nanjing, China, said in a news release. “Additional, larger studies are needed before definitive recommendations can be made, but the evidence is compelling.”The latest meta-analysis involved seven studies with a total of 254,489 participants who were followed for an average of 14 years.

The findings revealed that participants with the highest protein intake were 20 percent less likely to suffer stroke than those with the lowest protein intake. After accounting for other factors like smoking and high cholesterol, researchers found that the risk of stroke decreased by 26 percent for every additional 20 grams of protein consumed each day.

“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,” Liu said in a news release.
Researchers warn that people should not increase their consumption of red meat. Previous Japanese studies revealed people who eat less red meat and more fish are less likely to suffer stroke.

“These results indicate that stroke risk may be reduced by replacing red meat with other protein sources, such as fish,” Liu said.