WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- A new study suggests that individuals with higher protein diets such as fish are 20% less likely to develop a stoke than without.
That's the findings of researchers who looked at studies evaluating the relationship between protein diets and the risk stroke. Scientists looked through seven studies with more than 250,000 participants and followed them over the course of 14 years.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention one American dies every four minutes from a stroke, making it the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is blocked or when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures, causing brain tissue to die.
"The amount of protein that led to the reduced risk was moderate, equal to 20 grams per day," said study author Xinfeng Liu, MD, PhD, of Nanjing University School of Medicine in Nanjing, China. "Additional, larger studies are needed before definitive recommendations can be made, but the evidence is compelling."
The analysis revealed other factors such as smoking and high cholesterol that could affect the risk of stoke as well. For every additional 20 grams per day of protein that people ate, their risk of stroke decreased by 26%.
Dr. Liu suggest that stroke risk may be reduced by replacing red meat with other protein sources like fish. The reduced risk of stroke was stronger for animal protein than vegetable protein, according to researchers.
It should also be noted that two of the studies were conducted in Japan. A country where people eat more fish and less red meat than westerners, which has been associated with the decreased risk of stroke.
The study was supported by the National Science Foundation of China and the Natural Science Foundation of Jinling Hospital in Nanjing, China. Published in the June 11,2014, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
Written by: Monika Thomas, WUSA9