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New Report In The Journal of Nutrition Shows Soy Is Beneficial For Heart and Bone Health
Date:3/26/2009

, beans, nuts and certain vegetables - together into a healthy lifestyle are really the best approach to heart health."

When considering all the ways that heart health is potentially improved, soyfoods certainly look impressive, Messina says. In addition to the cholesterol-lowering effects of soy protein, full-fat soyfoods are also good sources of an essential omega-3 fatty acid, which independently lowers risk of heart disease. Plus, because many soyfoods are low in saturated fat and cholesterol free, they can support healthy cholesterol levels when used in place of many of the more traditional sources of protein in the U.S. diet that tend to be high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Furthermore, soyfoods may reduce heart disease risk independent of their effects on cholesterol, through such mechanisms as lowering blood pressure.

"Although no single coronary benefit can be considered to be especially robust, certainly collectively these effects of soyfoods will contribute to a significant reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease," concludes Messina.

Soy and Bone Health

There has been considerable interest in the effects of soy on bone health during the past 10 years, in part because of the low rate of hip fractures among Asians, a population known to have a high rate of soy consumption. Research presented at the Symposium offers hope that soyfoods promote bone health. For example, an Italian randomized clinical trial evaluated the effects of a soy extract on bone mineral density in postmenopausal osteopenic (those with loss of bone mass but not yet with clinical fracture or osteoporosis) women over a three-year period. Women given the soy extract experienced an 8 and 9 percent increase in spinal and hip bone mineral density, respectively, whereas among the women given a placebo, bone mineral density decreased at those sites by approximately 12 and 8 percent, respectively.(1)


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