We are living at a time when our health is talked about more and more, and what we can do to improve it and make us healthier. And this centres on different factors, one of which is our diet and nutrition. In the media, especially over the last few months, there has been more and more talk about removing meat from our diets and becoming either vegetarian or vegan.
However, a major new study has found that Vegetarians and Vegans are 20 per cent more likely to suffer from a stroke. This is because experts say a plant-based diet may be deficient in protective fats and vitamins.
Oxford University followed nearly 50,000 adults for 18 years. The research appeared to show that non-meat eaters were vulnerable to haemorrhagic strokes; this is when blood vessels burst in the brain. It should be noted, however, that they were 22 per cent less likely to suffer from heart disease, and fish eaters also had a 13 per cent lower risk of heart problems.
Meat eaters were more likely to suffer heart disease, with experts warning regular consumers were likely to be fatter, have higher blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as diabetes issues.
Apparently, over 1.7 million Brits are thought to be vegetarian or vegan (to put that in context there are said to be 66 million people living in the United Kingdom). It was found that vegetarians and vegans had lower levels of Vitamin B12 and cholesterol.
B12 is found in many animal products such as meat, eggs and dairy, and a deficiency has been linked with increased stroke risk. The study actually was quoted as saying: "Overall vegetarians had higher risks of stroke".
Both Oxford University's Doctor Tammy Tong and Cambridge University's Doctor Stephen Burgess agreed that taking up a vegetarian diet may not be universally beneficial for all health outcomes. They did add that more research is probably required before any change in diet guidelines.