Getting enough protein—especially from fish—could actually lower your risk for a deadly stroke, according to the Researchers at the Center for Genomic Medicine at Kyoto University in Japan.
Overall, people who consumed the most protein had a 20% lower risk of stroke compared to those who consumed the least, says study author Xinfeng Liu, MD, PhD of Nanjing University School of Medicine in China. Every additional 20 g of protein people ate was also associated with a 26% reduced risk of stroke.
The reason is, protein helps lower blood pressure, which plays a role in stroke risk. But while you don’t want to skimp on protein, you don’t want to go overboard either. Our suggestion is that moderate intake is best for reducing risk. The majority of Americans—who, on average, get about 15% of their daily calories from protein (75 g protein for a person eating 2,000 calories per day)—already fall in the “moderate” range.
The type of protein matters, too: The benefit was more evident with animal protein than plant protein (though researchers say this needs to be studied further); and of the different animal proteins, fish came out on top.
Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients that help reduce blood pressure and improve endothelial function. Red meat, on the other hand, is a source of saturated fatty acids and cholesterol, which can negatively impact cardiovascular health. Replacing red meat with fish would be a great idea.
Other nutrients that help lower blood pressure and potentially lower your risk of stroke: potassium, magnesium, and dietary fiber—all found abundantly in plants. Grilled salmon spinach salad, if you know any thing more, please share in our comments section.