Strokes occur when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off, and because they are life-threatening, they should be treated as a medical emergency.
According to Dr Sherin Kassam of Plant-Based Health Professionals UK, what we eat can determine our risk of stroke, including two types of meat.
“The main foods that can put you at risk for stroke are processed meats and red meat,” she explained.
Jerky refers to some modification of processed meat in order to preserve or enhance flavor.
Processed meats include foods such as sausage and bacon, while red meats include beef, lamb and camel.
A study published in the European Heart Journal confirms what Dr. Sherin says about the dangers of these types of meat.
The study looked at data from over 400,000 participants from nine countries and identified foods associated with risk of ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke.
Researchers found that eating as little as 50g of red and processed meat per day was associated with a 14% increase in stroke risk.
However, Dr. Sherin pointed out that this is just one study and the results need to be confirmed before any conclusion can be drawn. Noting that when the results were adjusted for consumption of other foods, such as fruits and vegetables, this risk disappeared, meaning that consumption of red and processed meats reflects a low intake of fruits and vegetables in the diet and a poor quality diet in general.
While more research is needed in this area, red and processed meats have been linked to a range of health problems, from cancer to heart disease.
“For these unhealthy foods and drinks, there is no safe dose effect limit, the more you consume, the higher the risk. If you are going to eat red and processed meat, try to consume as little as possible and make sure you eat it with plenty of fruits and vegetables.” says Dr. Sherin.
However, red and processed meats are best avoided and this recommendation is supported by major international guidelines.
To minimize the risk of stroke, the doctor recommended replacing this meat with healthy fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.
She added, “Eating more dietary fiber, especially from fruits and vegetables, can significantly reduce your risk of stroke, with the added benefit of preventing heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and more.”