Evidence suggests following the Mediterranean diet can lower stroke risk in women by 22%
12/05/2018 // Zoey Sky // Views

Following a proper diet has many health benefits, such as preventing various diseases and improving your overall well-being. According to a study by researchers from Scotland, following a certain kind of diet can also help reduce your risk of having a stroke.

Dietary habits and stroke risk

Data from the study, which was published in the journal Stroke, suggested that the Mediterranean diet can lower stroke risk among women by about 22 percent. This particular diet is associated with different health benefits like weight loss and lower blood glucose levels. It's also one of the best diets for individuals who have diabetes.

The researchers noted that while the female participants in the study enjoyed health benefits from the Mediterranean diet, the men didn't have as much. They posited that this could be due to the biological differences between men and women.

For the trial, the researchers gathered data on more than 23,000 men and women. The participants were aged 40 to 77, and all of them were followed for 17 years. The researchers also analyzed the dietary habits of the volunteers.

Study findings showed that those who followed the Mediterranean diet reduced their stroke risk by 17 percent. When the researchers broke down the outcomes between the genders, the women's reduction risk dropped by about 22 percent compared to the six percent drop in the men.

Dr. Phyo Myint, lead researcher and clinical chair of medicine at the University of Aberdeen School of Medicine in Scotland, advised that making simple changes to your diet can offer long-term health benefits such as reduced stroke risk, which is still one of the main causes of death and disability around the world.


Dr. Myint explained that "certain components in the Mediterranean diet may influence the risk of stroke in women more than in men." (Related: Want a healthier heart? Start following a Mediterranean diet.)

The study didn't prove that following the Mediterranean diet can lower stroke risk, but it confirmed a link between the two. There are also other studies that have shown the benefits of the Mediterranean diet, which implies that the diet is one of the best options for stroke prevention.

Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist at New York University Langone Medical Center, added that the Mediterranean diet, which can vary per culture, tends to include foods full of anti-inflammatory compounds like fiber, healthy plant compounds, vitamins, and minerals.

The diet is a natural remedy for preventing stroke in women, especially since they are at greater risk. Women are more susceptible to strokes because of factors like hormone replacement therapy and the oral contraceptive pill. Other conditions during pregnancy like gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia can also increase stroke risk in women.

The researchers advised that even though the study findings confirmed a reduced stroke risk in the female participants, the Mediterranean diet has implications for the general public and clinicians for stroke prevention.

The basics of the Mediterranean diet

If you want to follow the Mediterranean diet, here are some pointers to keep in mind:

  • Eat lots of breads, extra virgin olive oil, fish, fruits, herbs, legumes, nuts, potatoes, seafood, seeds, spices, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Eat eggs, cheese, poultry, and yogurt in moderation.
  • Limit your intake of red meat.
  • Avoid foods with added sugars, processed meat, refined grains, refined oils, sugar-sweetened beverages, and other highly processed foods.

To learn more about the Mediterranean diet and how it can boost cardiovascular health, visit Heart.news.

Sources include:



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