Need a reason to keep up your veggie diet post Veganuary?
How about the benefit of lowering your risk of suffering a stroke?
Vegetarians have a significantly lower risk of suffering a stroke than people who eat meat and dish, suggests a new study.
Researchers studied two groups of Buddhist communities, where a vegetarian diet is encouraged.
The average age of the participants was 50 and around 30% of people in both groups were vegetarians.
The first group of 5,050 people were followed for six years and the second group of 8,302 people were followed for nine years.
Those who didn’t eat meat in the first group had a 74% lower risk of ischemic strokes, and in the second group, vegetarians had a 48% lower risk of overall stroke than non-veggies, a 60% lower risk of ischemic stroke, and a 65% lower risk of a hemorrhagic stroke.
Dr Chin-Lon Lin, of Tzu Chi University in Taiwan, said: ‘Stroke is the second most common cause of death worldwide and a leading cause of disability.
‘Our study found that a vegetarian diet was beneficial and reduced the risk of ischemic stroke even after adjusting for known risk factors like blood pressure, blood glucose levels and fats in the blood.
‘This could mean that perhaps there is some other protective mechanism that may protecting those who eat a vegetarian diet from stroke.’
Of the participants in the first group, there were three strokes among 1,424 vegetarians and 28 strokes from the 3,626 meat-eaters.
In the second group, there were 24 strokes from the 2,719 vegetarians compared to 97 among 5,583 non-vegetarians.
The findings, published in the journal Neurology, could help reduce the number of people who suffer strokes by making changes to their diet and could have a major impact on public health.
More research is needed, of course, to establish cause and effect.
Other factors may play a part – perhaps vegetarians are more likely to pursue active lifestyles or reduce their intake of sugar.
But considering all the other benefits of upping your veggies and reducing your meat intake (just the other week a study suggested that eating miso soup and tempeh could make you live longer), it might be worth sticking to that meat-free Monday plan.