Skip the Soda to Lessen Stroke Risk
Skim milk was associated with an 11% lower risk of stroke when substituted for low-calorie soda
Drinking soda may raise the risk of suffering a stroke, especially for women, says a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The report combined the results of two studies that included more than 125,000 people.
Strokes generally fall into two categories: ischemic stroke, which is characterized by a blockage of an artery supplying the brain, or hemorrhagic stroke, in which a blood vessel in the brain bursts. Ischemic strokes account for about 87% of all strokes.
Choose your beverage wisely
Women and men who were enrolled in the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow Up Study answered questions about their soda consumption. They also provided information about consumption of other beverages, including orange juice, milk, tea, and coffee. The studies lasted for 28 and 22 years, respectively, and the number and type of strokes that occurred were recorded.
Here's what the studies found:
"In sugar-sweetened sodas, the sugar load may lead to rapid increases in blood glucose and insulin, which over time lead to glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, and inflammation," said lead study author, Adam Bernstein of the Cleveland Clinic and the Harvard School of Public Health. "These physiologic changes in turn influence atherosclerosis, plaque stability, and thrombosis--a risk factor for ischemic stroke."
Bernstein says that the caramel coloring in many sugar-sweetened and low-calorie sodas can cause inflammation and damage blood vessels, which in turn can lead to artery disease and increase the risk of stroke.
Several substances in coffee, including chlorogenic acid, lignans, and magnesium act as antioxidants and blood sugar regulators that may help reduce stroke risk.
Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability in many industrialized countries. The risk of stroke increases with age. Men are more likely than women to have a stroke, and African American people are at greater risk than white people. While you can't do much about your gender or heritage, many stroke risk factors are in your control:
Time is of the essence when diagnosing and treating someone who has suffered a stroke. If you suspect that someone may have had a stroke, remember to act FAST:
(Am J Clin Nutr 2012;95:1190-9)
Kimberly Beauchamp, ND, received her doctoral degree from Bastyr University, the nation's premier academic institution for science-based natural medicine. She co-founded South County Naturopaths in Wakefield, RI, where she practiced whole family care with an emphasis on nutritional counseling, herbal medicine, detoxification, and food allergy identification and treatment. Her blog, Eat Happy, helps take the drama out of healthy eating with real food recipes and nutrition news that you can use. Dr. Beauchamp is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire.