Plant-Based Diet Decreases Stroke Risk

Fernando Menjura, Writer

A recent study taken by researchers from the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health took a look at people who followed a more plant-based diet and compared it to those who did not. The healthier diet involved richer plant-based foods, such as whole grains, beans, and leafy greens, as well as foods that aren’t as full of nutrients, such as added sugars and refined grains. The study found that just by increasing the plant base in one’s diet, one could lower stroke risk by at least 10%. Those who were involved with the plant-based diet had multiple body tests done, as did the participants that didn’t follow the diet. Tests like blood pressure were recorded before and after the study, as well as a comparison of the different levels of stress the body endured while both groups of participants performed a series of exercises that were meant to raise the heart rate.

The Medical Journal of the American Academy of Neurology, a world-renown academy representing over 36,000 neurologists and neuroscientists, examined the studies found by the researchers from Harvard, and then continued to publish the study online on March 10, 2021. First author Megu Baden from the Department of Nutrition said, “Our findings have important public health implications, suggesting that future nutrition policies to lower stroke risk should take the quality of food into consideration.” Not only did the study show that a plant-based diet would decrease the chance of a stroke by 10%; a further study showed it would also reduce the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and various other illnesses.

Participants of this second study consisted of over 200,000 men and women who didn’t have cardiovascular disease or cancer at the start of their participation. These participants were studied for a span of about 25 years; having to take a diet questionnaire every 2 of these years. The participants were examined on their diet quality based on the fruitfulness of plant-based foods they ate. Those who consumed a serving or less of meat or fish were classified as vegetarians. 

The researchers concluded that a healthy plant-based diet – in addition to reducing 10% of overall stroke risk – had an even higher reduction in the risk of having an ischemic stroke, the most common type of stroke in the world.. A finding like this not only helps the people suffering from such problems, but allows for proper care and methods of stroke prevention in the future with something as simple as eating different and more nutritious foods.