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A Mediterranean-style diet may protect women from stroke

Oct. 22, 2018— If you're a woman over 40, here's some food for thought: A Mediterranean-style diet could reduce your stroke risk, a new study suggests. And that's true whether or not you've gone through menopause or use hormone replacement therapy.

The Mediterranean diet is high in fish, fruits, veggies, nuts and beans. It includes fewer meat and dairy products.

Men far less likely to benefit

The study is one of the largest and longest-running efforts to look at just how well this diet protects against stroke. It tracked 23,232 white adults aged 40 to 77 for 17 years.

It found that, overall, those who most closely followed the diet lowered their stroke risk by 17 percent. But when looking at men and women separately, women cut their risk by 22 percent and men had only a 6 percent drop in risk. That change could even be due to chance, the researchers said.

Just what explains this marked difference isn't clear. But it may be that different components of the diet affect men and women differently, the researchers speculated.

For the study, participants used seven-day diaries to keep track of everything they ate and drank. These diaries are more accurate than traditional surveys about food consumption and add to the study's credibility.

The study appeared in Stroke, an American Heart Association journal. For more findings, read the full study.

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