Study finds that eating a plant-based diet lowers risk of stroke

Healthy lunch table

People who eat more leafy greens, whole grains, and beans and less refined grains, potatoes, and added sugar could lower overall stroke risk by up to 10%, according to a study published in the journal Neurology.

The researchers analyzed health data from more than 200,000 women and men in the Nurses Healthy Study, Nurses’ Health Study II, and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, who did not have cardiovascular disease or cancer at the start of their participation. Participants were followed for more than 25 years and completed diet questionnaires every two to four years. They then scored participants on the quality of their diet based on the healthfulness of the plant-based foods they ate.

Researchers found that consuming a plant-based diet was associated with a modest reduction in risk of ischemic stroke — the most common type of stroke that occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked. But there was association found between a plant-based diet and reduced risk of hemorrhagic stroke that occurs when an artery in the brain leaks or ruptures. The study was partly-funded by NHLBI.