A new study shows that all dietary protein  is not equal and that chicken is preferable over red meat in helping to decrease the risk of stroke.  The study was recently published in the journal Stroke.

A team of researchers collected data from two large health surveys that tracked nearly 130,000 men and women from roughly middle age to their senior and elderly years.   Study participants were divided based on how much red meat, poultry, fish, dairy and other sources of protein they typically ate each day in order to determine what influence different types of dietary protein had on the risk of stroke.  People who ate the most chicken or turkey each day, about a half serving for women and three-quarters of a serving for men, had a 13 percent reduced risk of stroke compared with those who ate barely more than a serving a day.  A serving of poultry was considered to be 113 grams.

For those participants in the study who ate more than two servings of red meat a day, swapping in one serving of poultry lowered stroke risk by 27 percent, a serving of nuts or fish was linked to a 17 percent drop, and a serving of dairy dropped the risk by 10 to 11 percent.  For purposes of the study, a serving of red meat was considered to be 113 to 170 grams (4 to 6 ounces) of beef, or a hamburger patty.

“The main message from this paper is that the type of protein or the protein package is really important for the risk of stroke, ” said Frank Hue, a research team member from the  Harvard School of Public Health.

“I do not think that poultry has been considered a protein source that might lower the risk of stroke.  This is new, ” said Suzanna Larsson at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, who led an earlier study on the role of dietary red meat and the risk of stroke.