Got milk? If you’re interested in preventing a stroke, low-fat dairy products may help.
According to a Swedish study, eating low-fat dairy products, including cheeses, yogurts and milk, may be beneficial in lowering the risk of middle-aged and older adults having a stroke.
WebMD reported that the study, published in the journal Stroke, tracked the diets of 75,000 men and women over the course of a decade. Researchers found that study participants who consumed the most low-fat dairy foods and beverages were 12 percent less likely to have a stroke than those who consumed the least.
"The most plausible explanation is that low-fat dairy food lowers blood pressure," researcher Susanna Larsson, associate professor of nutritional epidemiology at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm told WebMD. "High blood pressure is a strong risk factor for stroke."
The vitamin D and calcium in milk are possible factors.
Neurologist Wayne Clark, director of the Oregon Stroke Center at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Ore., points out that calcium may also play a role in lowering blood pressure. However, Clark notes that diet is only part of stroke prevention, along with quitting smoking and exercising more.
Dairy Herd Network has reported similar findings of other studies, including a 2009 study based in the United Kingdom that found a correlation between drinking milk and reducing the risk of dying from heart disease or stroke. Another UK-based study in 2005 found that milk drinks had a 17 percent lower chance of a stroke.