Eating Oatmeal for Breakfast Instead of Eggs Lowers Stroke Risk

Numerous studies began to show that what foods we thought to be healthy, are, in fact, putting us at risk of developing various illnesses.

Now, a new Danish research, published in the journal Stroke, demonstrated that consuming oatmeal for breakfast rather than the usual eggs and white toast may be lowering the risk of stroke.

Eating breakfast every day, especially oatmeal, has long been connected to low stroke risk. But until now, studies have not clearly depicted the way substituting oatmeal for usual breakfast foods such as eggs, yogurt, and toast might affect stroke risk. 

Oatmeal Lowers Stroke Risk

Scientists have analyzed dietary information of approximately 55,000 adults in Denmark, whose average age was 56 years old and had no stroke background. In the beginning, every week, participants ate an overall of 2.1 servings of eggs, three servings of white bread, one serving of yogurt, and 0.1 serving of oatmeal.

Researchers followed up with half of the participants for a minimum of 13.4 years; during the monitoring phase, 2,260 people had a stroke. Utilizing a statistical paradigm, the scientists calculated that a person who substituted one serving of eggs or white bread with oatmeal would have a 4 percent decreased risk of stroke, in comparison to those who kept consuming eggs and white bread for breakfast. 

“Our results indicate that shifting more people to choose oatmeal instead of white bread or eggs might be wise for population-level prevention of stroke, but the modest association means that for individuals, it is quite possible that other factors might be more important,” said senior study author Christina Dahm of Aarhus University in Denmark.

“Cholesterol is a risk factor for ischemic strokes, and our results were stronger for ischemic stroke, which could indicate that the cholesterol-lowering effect of eating oats may have a long-term impact on the risk of ischemic stroke,” Dahm added.

Healthy Eating Habits, Healthy Life

The majority of ischemic strokes happen when a clot blocks an artery transporting blood to the brain. To lower that risk, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends not smoking, exercising on a regular basis, keeping a healthy weight, checking the blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar, and consuming an abundant diet in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and proteins with a low amount of sweets and fats.

Substituting one weekly serving of eggs or white bread with oatmeal was, in particular, linked to a 5 percent lower risk of ischemic stroke caused by blockages in small arteries, the study noted. In general, the participants who consumed more eggs and white bread were prone to have less healthy eating and lifestyle habits than people who ate oatmeal for breakfast.

“Perhaps patients who eat oatmeal take better care of themselves in other ways, and this accounts for the observed effect,” said Dr. Michael D. Hill, a researcher at the University of Calgary, in Alberta, Canada, who was not part of the research team. 

“If true, this would mean that eating oatmeal just identifies a population of people who are healthy, rather than having a direct effect on the pathological processes leading to stroke,” Hill added.

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