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Story Updated: Apr 26, 2012
When you reach into the dairy refrigerator at the supermarket, the choice you make could help protect your brain.
Strokes are a major source of death and disability in the United States. Fortunately, we can take many actions to protect ourselves from having one. Today's news from the journal Stroke brings yet another helpful way.
Researchers asked nearly 75,000 men and women about their usual diet, then followed them for about 10 years. During this time, the group had more than 4,000 strokes.
However, those who ate and drank the most low-fat dairy foods were 12 percent less likely to have a stroke than those who had the least.
How could low-fat dairy protect your brain? The answer may surprise you. The researchers suspect it has to do with blood pressure. Having high blood pressure makes you more likely to have a stroke. But drinking low-fat milk and eating low-fat cheese and other dairy foods may help bring down high blood pressure.
Lowering your risk of stroke by 12 percent is a smart move, but you can go much further to protect yourself. While you're at the grocery store, be sure to toss lots of fruits and vegetables and whole-grain foods into your cart and leave the salty, heavily processed foods on the shelf.
I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV, with the news that doctors are reading; health news that matters to you.