Dairy Foods and Risk of Stroke

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Consumption of milk and other dairy foods has been associated with reduced risk of stroke, although not all studies have shown this consistently.


We examined the association between dairy food intake and risk of stroke subtypes within the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study. Between 1985 and 1988, 26,556 Finnish male smokers aged 50–69 years who had no history of stroke completed a food frequency questionnaire. We used Cox proportional hazards models to estimate relative risks (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs), adjusted for potential confounders.


During a mean follow-up of 13.6 years, 2702 cerebral infarctions, 383 intracerebral hemorrhages, and 196 subarachnoid hemorrhages were ascertained. We observed positive associations between whole milk intake and risk of intracerebral hemorrhage (RR = 1.41 for the highest vs. lowest quintile of intake; 95% CI = 1.02–1.96) and between yogurt intake and subarachnoid hemorrhage (RR = 1.83 for the highest vs. lowest quintile of intake; 95% CI = 1.20–2.80). Men in the highest quintile of cream intake had a moderate decreased risk of cerebral infarction (0.81; 0.72–0.92) and intracerebral hemorrhage (0.72; 0.52–1.00). There were no strong associations between intakes of total dairy, low-fat milk, sour milk, cheese, ice cream, or butter and risk of any stroke subtype.


These findings suggest that intake of certain dairy foods may be associated with risk of stroke.

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