A new meta-analysis of 7 studies (4 from the US, 2 from Japan and 1 from Sweden) suggests that a moderate dietary protein intake may lower the risk of stroke. The primary beneficial protein source was fish, while other animal protein sources such as red meat appeared to be associated with an increased risk. The study further found that fish intake could decrease the risk for stroke by 29% while vegetable protein could decrease it by 12%. The association between protein intake and risk for stroke was stronger in women than men. With every 20g per day increment in total protein intake, the stroke risk decreased by 26%. In numbers, this is equivalent to an annual reduction of stroke deaths by 1,482,000 cases. The author concludes that the main protective effect of fish protein comes from its ability to lower blood pressure, but also from lowering triglycerides, total cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein. Another potential benefit the author foresees is the patients’ full or partial replacing of the harmful foods they currently consume with high-protein ones.

(Protein, Especially Fish, Linked to Reduced Stroke. Zhang Z, Xu G, Yang F, Zhu W, Liu X, Neurology. 2014 Jun 11. pii: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000000551. [Epub ahead of print]. For Medscape Medical News/Neurology reported by Pauline Anderson.)