Diet High in Fat Raises Stroke Risk in Women

Diets that consist of a lot of fattening foods can raise the risk of stroke for women over the age of 50, new research shows. But doctors note the risk can be easily avoided.

Eating a lot of fat, especially the kind that’s in cookies, butter, and pastries, drastically raises the risk of stroke for women over 50, according to a new study. But, the increased risk is potentially avoidable, researchers note.

This latest study is the largest of its kind to look at stroke risk in women and across all types of fat. Researchers reviewed more than 87,000 between the ages 50 and 79 for an average of seven and a half years.

The women who ate a diet high in fats had a 44 percent greater risk of having an ischemic stroke as opposed to those who ate less fat.

The risk of stroke was also 30 percent higher in those who consumed seven grams of trans fat daily. Trans fat is the chemically altered fat found in most packaged and processed foods, as well as in baked goods, like crackers and cookies.

In reviewing the finding, experts noted that women should look at the labels on the foods they buy, and that this is a simple way that any woman, especially postmenopausal women, can improve their health. They also recommended avoiding fried foods, which are notoriously high in fat.

The American Heart Association cautions average middle aged women to limit fat intake to less than 25 to 35 percent of total calories, and to limit trans fat intake to less than one percent. On the other hand, healthier fats that come from nuts, seeds, fish, and vegetable oils are an important part of a well-balanced diet.

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