Vegetarians might have higher risk of stroke than meat eaters, study finds

(CNN) – Though vegetarian and vegan diets continue to gain popularity, a new study from the medical journal BMJ suggests those who don’t eat meat may be at a higher risk of stroke than those who do.

Vegetarians could be at a higher risk for having a stroke than meat eaters, a new study suggests. (Source: CNN)

The research, conducted by tracking nearly 50,000 people over a span of nearly two decades, found that vegetarians and vegans had a 20-percent higher risk of stroke than meat eaters – particularly hemorrhagic stroke, which is caused when blood from an artery bleeds into the brain.

That translates to three more cases of stroke per 1,000 people over a 10-year period.

But the same study also shows cutting out meat is associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease by 22 percent.

It’s unclear why the research found the higher risk of stroke in vegetarians, but those who conducted the study suggest it’s due to “very low cholesterol levels or very low levels of some nutrients,” like vitamin B12.

The report, however, did note the overall better health of vegetarians compared to meat eaters.

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