Eating fat doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. Yes, you read that right! While you may have heard about “good” and “bad” kinds of fats, it still feels like we should be avoiding them all as much as we can. But it’s possible eating more vegetable fat could have a little-known benefit. According to a new study, it could help reduce your risk of stroke.
A stroke happens when a blood vessel is blocked from reaching a part of your brain by a clot, or it simply ruptures on the way there. This cuts off vital blood supply to the brain and can lead to major damage. Essentially, the brain needs blood to do its vital functions, and a stroke means it can’t perform them. That likely led to a disruption of the body function associated with the affected part of the brain.
Strokes can be debilitating, so scientists devote a lot of time figuring out how to prevent and reduce the likelihood of them happening. That’s how this new 27-year study came to be. The researchers behind the study found that consuming the right type of fat is an effective way to reduce your risk of stroke.
“Our findings indicate the type of fat and different food sources of fat are more important than the total amount of dietary fat in the prevention of cardiovascular disease including stroke,” said Fenglei Wang, Ph.D., lead author of the study.
How does vegetable fat reduce your risk of stroke?
In the study, red meat was defined as eating beef, pork or lamb as a main dish, in sandwiches or mixed dishes, and processed meats. These processed meats including bacon, sausage, bologna, hot dogs, and salami, to name a few. On the other hand, vegetable fat came from cooking with oils like olive, corn, or soybean oil.
Throughout the 27-year study, 6,189 of the 117,136 participants had a stroke. The data showed that the participants who ate the most animal fat had a 16 percent increase in the risk of stroke. Meanwhile, those who ate the most vegetable fat had a 12 percent reduced risk of stroke.
“Based on our findings, we recommend for the general public to reduce consumption of red and processed meat, minimize fatty parts of unprocessed meat if consumed, and replace lard or tallow (beef fat) with non-tropical vegetable oils such as olive oil, corn or soybean oils in cooking in order to lower their stroke risk,” said Wang.
That means that when you do consume red meat, make sure to trim the fat and cook it in a vegetable oil for the greatest chance of reducing your risk of stroke.
What is the most common cause of stroke?
Strokes are unfortunately all too common. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. All together, the CDC says someone in the US dies of a stroke every four minutes, and one in six deaths from cardiovascular disease is due to stroke. That amounts to more than 795,000 deaths every year.
The most common cause of stroke is high blood pressure. Since one in three American adults struggle with hypertension, it makes most of us higher at risk for stroke. Thankfully, there are tons of ways to help bring down your blood pressure. From the types of foods you eat to when you eat them, lowering your blood pressure comes down to lifestyle changes that are simple to make and can have a big impact.
Overall, your diet has more effect on your health than you might realize. If you find yourself worried about your risk of stroke, reduce it by following the advice of researchers and bring more vegetable fat into your diet.