The research found that vegetarians and vegans had a 20 per cent higher risk of stroke than meat-eaters, particularly hemorrhagic stroke – caused when blood from an artery begins to bleed into the brain.
This translates to three more cases of stroke per 1,000 people over 10 years.
The exact reasons for this higher risk found in vegetarians are not clear, said Tong.
It is possible that this is due to “very low cholesterol levels or very low levels of some nutrients,” she said.
“There is some evidence which suggests that very low cholesterol levels might be associated with a slightly higher risk of hemorrhagic stroke,” she said.