Health Care

Vegan and vegetarian diets may increase stroke risk, experts say

Vegan and vegetarian diets may increase stroke risk, experts say”

People who eat vegetarian and vegan diets are at lower risk of heart disease, but they have a greater chance of having a stroke, according to a major medical study.

Plant-based diets, as well as ones that reduce the overall amount of animal products, are increasingly popular among consumers who express health and environmental concerns. However, the comprehensive expanse of probable health advantage and providence of these diets yet remains a mystery.

This is the first study to look at the risk of stroke in vegetarians, said Tong.

They had 10 fewer cases of heart disease and three more strokes per 1,000 people compared with the meat-eaters.

Researchers from the University of Oxford conducted the study after tracking 48,188 people, with an average age of 45, for 18 years.

Quizzed on various aspects of their lifestyle and medical history, participants were asked to classify themselves as either meat-eaters (24,428 people), vegetarians and vegans (16,254 people) or pescatarians (7,506 people).

Researchers also suggested that low blood levels of total cholesterol among vegetarians and vegans may play a role.

The researchers noted there are 1.7 million vegans and vegetarians living in the United Kingdom and non-meat diets are becoming increasingly popular in part due to the perceived health benefits and concerns about the environment and animal welfare.

However, there was a 13% lower rate of heart disease among vegetarians (and fish eaters) compared to those who eat meat.

Vegan and vegetarian diets are linked to a lower risk of heart disease but may increase the risk of stroke, experts say.

"However, the lower risk in vegetarians and vegans remained marginally significant after adjustment for all of these factors", the study said.

The researchers said the increased risk of stroke could be down to lower levels of vitamins among the vegetarians and vegans in the study and called for further investigations. About 500 of the strokes were caused by blood clots in the brain (ischemic stroke) and 300 resulted from bleeding in the brain (hemorrhagic stroke).

"Whilst this is an interesting finding, this study is observational and doesn't provide us with enough evidence, so more research in this area would be needed". "It is based on results from just one study and the increase is modest relative to meat eaters", hesays.

Health officials say that the key to a healthy diet is a mix of vegetables and legumes, fruits, whole grains, dairy and meat - preferably of the lean variety. "Participants were all from the United Kingdom where dietary patterns and other lifestyle behaviors are likely very different from those prevalent in low and middle-income countries where most of the world's vegetarians live".

Before you change your eating habits, you should know that meat eaters were more likely to develop a heart disease than vegetarians.

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