Individuals who drink low-fat milk and eat low-fat yogurt and cheese may exhibit a lower risk of stroke, compared to those who consume full-fat dairy foods, Swedish researchers say. In a recent study published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke, among 74,961 adults aged 45 years to 83 years, participants who consumed low-fat dairy foods exhibited a 12% lower risk of stroke and 13% lower risk of ischemic stroke. Researchers report that during the study’s 10-year follow-up, 4,089 strokes occurred, 3,159 ischemic, 583 hemorrhagic, and 347 unspecified strokes.

“From a public health perspective, if people consume more low-fat dairy foods rather than high-fat dairy foods, they will benefit from a reduced risk of stroke and other positive health outcomes,” says Susanna Larsson, PhD, first author, associate professor of epidemiology in the division of nutritional epidemiology, National Institute of Environment Medicine, at the Stockholm, Sweden-based Karolinska Institute.

Researchers add that the benefits behind low-fat dairy foods may yield from the vitamins and minerals they contain such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin D. Larsson notes that the presence of vitamin D in low-fat dairy foods may partially explain the observed lowered risk of stroke exhibited in the study, thanks to its potential effect on blood pressure. She adds that additional research on the link between low-fat dairy consumption and stroke risk is necessary.

Source: American Heart Association