Vegetarians at higher risk for stroke than meat-eaters

U.S. & World News

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – MAY 23: Fruit and vegetables are displayed for sale at a grocers shop on May 23, 2014 in London, United Kingdom. Researchers at University College London recently said that eating ‘five-a-day’ of fruit and vegetables should be increased to seven. The study involving 65,226 men and women concluded that lifestyles which included at least seven-a-day reduced the chances of serious health issues. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

(CNN) – A new study suggests not eating meat may affect brain health, but it may also help your heart.

The study published in the medical journal BMJ suggests those who don’t eat meat may be at higher risk of stroke than those who do.

The research, conducted by tracking nearly 50,000 people over a span of nearly two decades, found that vegetarians and vegans had a 20% higher risk of stroke than meat-eaters, particularly hemorrhagic stroke – when blood from an artery bleeds into the brain.

This translates to three more cases of stroke per 1,000 people over a 10-year period.

But the same study also shows cutting out meat is associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease by 22%.

It’s unclear why the research found the higher stroke risk in vegetarians but those who conducted it suggest very low cholesterol levels or very low levels of some nutrients like B12.

The report, however did note the overall health of vegetarians compared to meat-eaters.

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