Certain foods significantly increase the risk of stroke - others reduce it

Certain foods significantly increase the risk of stroke - others reduce it

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Some foods significantly affect the risk of stroke

The choice of our food has a significant impact on the risk of different types of strokes. In other words, eating different foods significantly increases our risk of different types of strokes.

The latest study by the internationally renowned University of Oxford found that different types of food are at risk for different types of strokes. The results of the study were published in the European Heart Journal.

Studies mostly only looked at the overall risk of stroke

So far, most studies have looked at the relationship between diet and total stroke risk (all types of stroke combined). There have also been studies that looked at the relationship between diet and ischemic stroke. However, in the current study with more than 418,000 people from nine European countries, ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke were examined separately.

How did the consumption of fruit, vegetables and fiber affect you?

The current study found that while a higher intake of fruit, vegetables, fiber, milk, cheese or yoghurt was associated with a lower risk of an ischemic stroke, there was no significant association with a lower risk of a hemorrhagic stroke.

Eggs increase the risk of a hemorrhagic stroke

It was also found that higher egg consumption was associated with an increased risk of a hemorrhagic stroke, but not an ischemic stroke.

How do strokes develop?

Ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery that supplies blood to the brain, or when a blood clot forms anywhere else in the body and migrates to the brain, where it blocks blood flow. Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when there is bleeding in the brain that damages neighboring cells. About 85 percent of strokes are ischemic and only 15 percent are hemorrhagic. Strokes are the second leading cause of death worldwide.

Dietary fiber, fruits and vegetables protect against ischemic stroke

A higher consumption of both fiber and fruit and vegetables is strongly associated with a lower risk of an ischemic stroke. This supports current European guidelines. People should be advised to increase their fiber, fruit and vegetable consumption if it is not high enough.

Cholesterol levels and obesity affect risk of stroke

The study also underscores the importance of a separate study of stroke subtypes because the nutritional associations for ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes differ. This also agrees with other findings that show that other risk factors, such as cholesterol or obesity, affect the two stroke subtypes differently.

Dietary fiber massively reduced the risk of ischemic stroke

The total amount of fiber (including fiber from fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds) that people consumed was associated with the greatest potential reduction in the risk of ischemic stroke.

How much reduced fiber, fruits and vegetables the risk?

Every ten grams of fiber intake per day was associated with a 23 percent reduced risk. Fruit and vegetables alone were associated with a 13 percent lower risk for every 200 grams consumed per day. No foods have been associated with a statistically significantly higher risk of ischemic stroke.

What is the recommended diet?

The European Cardiology Society (ESC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend eating at least 400 grams of fruit and vegetables a day. The European Society for Cardiology also advises the daily consumption of 30 to 45 grams of fiber.

How much is the increased risk from eggs?

The researchers also found that for every additional 20 grams of eggs consumed each day, there was a 25 percent higher risk of hemorrhagic stroke. An average sized egg weighs about 60 grams. The egg consumption during the examination was low overall, with an average consumption of less than 20 grams per day.

What role do blood pressure and cholesterol play?

The researchers reported that the relationships they found between different foods and ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes could be explained in part by the effects on blood pressure and cholesterol.

Where did the evaluated data come from?

For the study, data from 418,329 men and women in nine countries were analyzed, including Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Participants filled out questionnaires asking about diet, lifestyle, medical history and socio-demographic factors. During the average medical follow-up of 12.7 years, there were 4,281 ischemic strokes and 1,430 hemorrhagic strokes.

What foods have been examined?

The food groups examined included meat and meat products (red meat, processed meat and poultry), fish and fish products (white fish and fatty fish), dairy products (including milk, yoghurt, cheese), eggs, cereals and cereal products, fruits and vegetables (combined and separated), legumes, nuts and seeds as well as fiber (total fiber and grain, fruit and vegetable fibers). (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Tammy YN Tong, Paul N Appleby, Timothy J Key, Christina C Dahm, Kim Overvad et al .: The associations of major foods and fiber with risks of ischaemic and haemorrhagic stroke: a prospective study of 418 329 participants in the EPIC cohort across nine European countries, in European Heart Journal (published 24.02.2020), European Heart Journal

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