Increasing the amount of protein you have in your diet may reduce your risk for stroke, according to a review of studies.
Scientists reviewed seven prospective studies involving more than 250,000 people and found that after adjusting for various stroke risks and for other nutrients consumed, those who had the highest consumption of protein had a 20 percent decreased risk for stroke compared with those with the lowest.
Each increase of 20 grams per day in protein - about the amount in a 3-ounce serving of chicken or fish or a cup of beans - was associated with a 26-percent decrease in risk.
However the finding, which was published in the Neurology journal, does not apply to red meat, which has been shown to increase the risk for stroke and was not evaluated in the studies reviewed. Some evidence suggested that animal protein was slightly more effective than vegetable protein, but there was not enough data on vegetable consumption to reach a definitive conclusion about the exact difference.
Still, health professionals say that while moderate dietary protein intake may lower the risk of stroke, it does not mean that consumers should avoid red meat entirely. However, increasing one’s intake of fish or vegetables is recommended.