(STOCKHOLM) — About 700,000 Americans suffer strokes every year, according to the American Heart Association. But a new study found that if you choose low-fat dairy foods, you may be reducing your risk of stroke.
In what they call the largest stroke study yet, researchers followed almost 75,000 adults aged 45 to 83 for an average of 10 years. All were free of heart disease, stroke and cancer when the study began.
Writing in the journal Stroke, the authors, led by Susanna Larsson of the division of nutritional epidemiology at the National Institute of Environmental Medicine at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute, report that those who drank low-fat milk and ate low-fat yogurt and cheese had a 12 percent lower risk of stroke when compared with those who ate full-fat dairy food.
Low-fat dairy food is part of a dietary approach to stop hypertension. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for stroke. In the U.S., the researchers noted that about one-third of adult men and women over 18 have high blood pressure — a “major controllable risk factor” for stroke. But only half of Americans affected by high blood pressure have the condition under control, they add.
Though the study was conducted in Sweden, Larsson’s team of researchers say that typical North American dairy consumption is very similar to that of northern Europeans, underscoring the study’s relevance to the U.S. population.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio