Changing the conversation about health

Eating dairy products could reduce stroke risk, finds major study

Consuming dairy products such as yoghurt and milk could lower the risk of stroke in later life, a new study suggests.

Oxford University scientists led a major 400,000-person study examining foods that impact the risk of a stroke.

While eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables and high in fibre saw the biggest reduction in risk, the research also found that drinking just one extra glass of milk a day reduced the chances of suffering an ischaemic stroke – the most common kind – by 5 per cent. Eating a pot of yoghurt daily improved the statistic further to 9 per cent.

New research led by Oxford University and published in the European Heart Journal found that drinking a glass of milk a day could reduce the risk of a stroke by 5 per cent

Published in the European Heart Journal, the research found that eating 200g of fruit and vegetables a day may reduce stroke risk by around 13 per cent.

The research examined the diets of people from 400,000 countries over the course of a year.

The results are likely to prove controversial; the inclusion of dairy in a healthy diet has been heavily debated, with many doctors suggesting that the high saturated fat the food group contains mean it isn’t good for the heart.

Lead author Dr Tammy Tong said: “People who ate more dairy had a lower risk of ischaemic stroke, in line with some previous studies which showed these people have lower blood pressure – a major risk for strokes.

The science jury continues to be out on eggs: consuming 20 grams of egg a day – around a third of a large egg – is said to raise the risk of stroke by 25 per cent

“However the results are not as strong as those for dietary fibre and fruit and vegetables.”

Professor Naveed Sattar, from Glasgow University, said further research was now needed: ‘We know fibre is linked strongly to a reduced risk of stroke, but the evidence for dairy foods is still limited, so we need proper studies on this.’