Red Meat and Strokes in Women

About 80 percent of strokes are caused when the brain loses blood supply because arteries are blocked. While eating red meat is linked to a higher risk of heart disease, several types of cancer, and high blood pressure, the connection between red meat in the diet and stroke has been less certain until now.

In December 2010, the journal Stroke published a study examining the link between eating red meat and stroke in 34,670 Swedish women from 39-73 years of age. All were free of cancer and cardiovascular disease in 1997 at the beginning of the study.  Over the 10 year study, there were 1,680 strokes in the group.

The women were divided into five groups based on the amount of red meat they ate. The group eating three ounces or more of red meat a day was 22 percent more likely to have a stroke than those who ate less than 1.3 ounces of red meat a day.

A similar connection was found regarding processed meats. Women who ate 1.5 ounces of processed meat a day were 24 percent more likely to have a stroke than women who ate less than half an ounce of processed meat a day.

These effects are largely due to the unhealthful fat in red meats. Processed meat is also high in sodium, which is associated with high blood pressure and stroke.

The Bible specifically forbids eating animal fat. “This shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwellings: you shall eat neither fat nor blood.” (Leviticus 3:17, NKJV)

Ellen White, a 19 century health reformer, anticipated difficulties in eating cuts of meat that were high in fat and blood long before today’s medicine conducted studies prove it. “Meat is served reeking with fat, because it suits the perverted taste. Both the blood and the fat of animals are consumed as a luxury. But the Lord gave special directions that these should not be eaten. … The disregard for the Lord’s special directions has brought a variety of difficulties and diseases upon human beings.” (Counsels on Diet and Foods, 393)

Once again, science confirms the wisdom of scripture and visionary health reformers from previous generations.