By David Colburn
Red meat has always been controversial; various studies have drawn associations to different cancers, cardiovascular complications, and type II diabetes. In a recent study conducted at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, another health risk has been determined: the risk of ischemic stroke.
According to diseaseproof.com, ischemic strokes are caused by atherosclerosis and they occur when blood flow to the brain is blocked by a clot. Many of red meat’s nutritional properties, including high saturated fat content, lead to the formation of atherosclerotic plaque.
The study, which began in 1997, followed the dietary patterns of 34,670 initially healthy Swedish women over 10 years. As confirmed by AOLhealth.com, 1680 individuals of the study group had suffered a stroke. The same study determined that the women who consumed at least 3.6 ounces of red meat per day, slightly more than the intake of the average American, according to diseaseproof.com, were 42 percent more likely to suffer an ischemic stroke than those that ate less than an ounce of red meat daily.
Processed meat’s effect was also considered for the study. It was determined that consuming more than 1.4 ounces of processed meat per day leads to an increased ischemic stroke risk of 24 percent, in comparison to the consumption of 0.5 ounces or less per day within the specific study group.
Based on another cross sectional epidemiological study referenced at bmj.com, a positive association was determined to exist between the heme iron found in red meat and blood pressure levels. Increased blood pressure is often cited as a common risk factor in both ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes.