(HealthDay News) – Eating low-fat dairy products is associated with a reduced risk of total stroke and cerebral infarctions.

Susanna C. Larsson, PhD, from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues assessed the correlation between consumption of total, low-fat, full-fat, and specific dairy foods with the risk of stroke in 74,961 Swedish adults. The participants, who were free from cardiovascular disease and cancer at baseline, completed a food frequency questionnaire in 1997 and were followed for a mean of 10.2 years. The Swedish Hospital Discharge Registry was queried to identify incident cases of stroke.

During follow-up, the researchers identified 4,089 incident cases of stroke, including 3,159 cerebral infarctions, 583 hemorrhagic strokes, and 347 unspecified strokes. There was a significant inverse association between consumption of low-fat dairy foods and the risk of total stroke and cerebral infarction (P for trend = 0.03 for both). For the highest versus the lowest quintile of low-fat dairy consumption, the multivariable relative risks were 0.88 for total stroke and 0.87 for cerebral infarction. There was no association between stroke risk and consumption of total dairy, full-fat dairy, milk, sour milk/yogurt, cheese, and cream/crème fraiche.

“Findings from this large study suggest that low-fat dairy food consumption is inversely associated with risk of stroke,” the authors write. “Further large prospective studies of low-fat dairy foods in relation to stroke are needed to establish a potential association.”

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