The research world has thrown up some contrasting statistics this week. On Monday we learned that eating dairy could reduce the chances of suffering a stroke by up to 10% when a study published in the European Heart Journal suggested that consuming more milk, cheese and yoghurt could cut the risk of the most common stroke in later life.
Milk and ischaemic strokes
In addition, it was revealed that for every extra glass of milk drunk per day, the risk of an ischaemic stroke caused by a blood clot fell by 5 per cent, dropping by 9 per cent for every small pot of yogurt.
The research looked into the two major stroke types, ischaemic and haemorrhagic, observing data from more than 418,000 people in nine European countries.
Fibre is also your friend and higher intakes can be linked to a decreased risk of ischaemic strokes where blockages are caused by cutting off of blood supply to the brain. Just a 10g increase in the intake of fibre a day, less than two think slices of wholemeal toast, was associated with a 23 per cent lower risk, according to researchers. That’s the equivalent to around two fewer cases per 1000 of the population over ten years.
Boost Fibre to cut risks
For those tucking away fruit and vegetables, for every 200g eaten a day, there was an associated 13% lower risk - or one less case per 1000 of the population over ten years.
With the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe recommending the consumption of at least 400g of fruit and vegetables a day, the report findings align with current guidelines, according to Dr Tammy Tong, the first author of the research study and a nutritional epidemiologist at the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford.
“The general public should be recommended to increase their fibre and fruit and vegetable consumption, if they are not already meeting these guidelines,” she said.
Just in case you were wondering on how you might get your five-a-day, here’s a link courtesy of the British Dietetic Association.
Meanwhile in Maastricht
In a parallel universe, well Maastricht, it was revealed that that men who drink half a pint of beer every day are 81% more likely to reach a tenth decade of life than teetotallers.
According to researchers from the Netherlands university, women drinking similar amounts also increased their chances of reaching their 90th birthday by a third.
Having tracked the boozing habits of some 5,500 people over the course of 20 years, the bad news from lead researcher Prof. Dr. Piet van den Brandt and his team is that the age-extending effects were limited to those who stuck to one drink a day.
That left us wondering just how much fibre is actually in beer? Well, being derived from malted barley, it’s a source of natural fibre and on average a litre of beer contains around 20% of the recommended daily intake of fibre, according to various sources.
If you’re a man and enjoy a wee dram of whisky, you’re in luck though. Study results suggest that men benefit the most from spirits including brandy, gin and ‘the water of life’. For the ladies, it’s a glass of wine.
Alcohol linked to nonagenarians
However, in comparing daily drinkers with abstainers, the researchers found men and women downing five to 10g of alcohol a day were 40% more likely to become a nonagenarian.
That said, it’s still not clear why small daily amounts of alcohol add years to our lives, says Pat Hagan in The Mail.
One possible explanation could be a scientific phenomenon known as hormesis, where something is potentially beneficial in small amounts but highly toxic and dangerous in large doses.
But before you head off to the pub in celebration, that ten grammes of alcohol is the rough equivalent to a small glass of wine, a pub measure of a spirit or half a pint of beer. Happy days!
Have a great weekend!