A Diet Rich in Soy Keeps your Heart Healthy

First Posted: Jul 31, 2014 11:07 AM EDT

Previous studies have boasted the benefits of soy. For many women going through menopause, research has shown that adding this food to your diet can reduce the risk of hot flashes and other related symptoms of the health issue. Now, findings published in the journal Menopause show that it could also help reduce the risk of cardiovascular issues in women, as well.

Recent research conducted by scientists from the North American Menopause Society found that a diet high in proteins from high-isoflavone soybeans helped to significantly lower cholesterol levels in cynomolgus monkeys before and after surgical menopause compared to those that were fed protein derived mainly from animal fat.

During the experiment, one group of monkeys continued to stay on the soy diet, while another group switched to an animal-derived soy regimen. A third group also maintained their animal protein diet while a fourth group switched from animal protein to soy.

Researchers analyzed cholesterol levels before and after surgical menopause. Findings showed that those that also switched from the animal protein diet to the soy one after menopause significantly improved their cholesterol levels.

However, researchers found no significant benefits in plaque buildup in the arteries of monkeys that switched from animal protein to soy following menopause. Furthermore, some monkeys experienced a postmenopausal advantage when they switched to soy.

Though most studies discuss the benefits of soy, some research has noted the dangers of unfermented soy products, such as soymilk, soy cheese, soy burgers and soy ice cream. With these other unfermented soy products, they can reduce the body's calcium assimilation, interfere with protein digestion and result in other issues.

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