A sustainable plant-based diet could help reduce stroke risk

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Scientists from Aarhus University found that the risk of strokes caused by bleeding or blood clots in the brain can be reduced if people’s diets are sustainable.

A stroke, also known as a transient ischemic attack or cerebrovascular accident, happens when blood flow to the brain is blocked.

This prevents the brain from getting oxygen and nutrients from the blood.

Without oxygen and nutrients, brain cells begin to die within minutes. Sudden bleeding in the brain can also cause a stroke if it damages brain cells.

A stroke is a medical emergency. A stroke can cause lasting brain damage, long-term disability, or even death.

The most common type of stroke is ischemic stroke. This happens when plaque or a blood clot blocks blood flow to an artery in or on the brain.

Hemorrhagic stroke is less common. This happens when a blood vessel breaks open and leaks blood into the brain.

A subarachnoid hemorrhage means that there is bleeding in the space that surrounds the brain. Most often, it occurs when a weak area in a blood vessel (aneurysm) on the surface of the brain bursts and leaks.

The blood then builds up around the brain and inside the skull increasing pressure on the brain.

Intracerebral hemorrhage (bleeding into the brain tissue) is the second most common cause of stroke (15-30% of strokes) and the most deadly.

Blood vessels carry blood to and from the brain. Arteries or veins can rupture, either from abnormal pressure or abnormal development or trauma.

In the current study, researchers aimed to examine the association between adherence to the EAT-Lancet diet, a sustainable and mostly plant-based diet, and the risk of stroke and subtypes of stroke.

Sustainable Diets are those diets with low environmental impacts which contribute to food and nutrition security and to healthy life for present and future generations.

The EAT-Lancet diet emphasizes whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, and soy, balances potatoes, dairy, eggs, and fish, and deemphasizes beef, chicken, oils, and sugar.

The researchers used the Danish Diet, Cancer, and Health database, which included more than 55,000 adults aged 50 to 64 years from 1993–1997.

A food frequency questionnaire was used to assess dietary intake according to adherence to the diets. The team examined stroke cases using a national registry and a review of medical records.

They also examined the links between Alternate Healthy Eating Index-2010 (AHEI) and stroke risks.

The AHEI-2010 was developed by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health as an alternative measure of diet quality to identify the future risk of diet-related chronic disease.

The researchers found that adherence to the EAT-Lancet diet was linked to a lower risk of stroke. Lower stroke risk was found for AHEI.

For stroke subtypes, the team found that adherence to the EAT-Lancet diet was linked to a lower risk of subarachnoid hemorrhage, and the AHEI was linked to a lower risk of ischemic stroke, and intracerebral hemorrhage.

Based on the findings, the team suggests that adherence to the EAT-Lancet diet in midlife is linked to a lower risk of subarachnoid stroke.

The AHEI is associated with a lower risk of total stroke, mainly ischemic stroke and intracerebral hemorrhage.

The research was published in the journal Stroke and conducted by Christina Dahm et al.

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