Soy Protein and Cholesterol

Eating soy protein may help people lower their ‘bad’ cholesterol and triglycerides while slightly increase their ‘good’ cholesterol, according to a study conducted at Tulane University.

Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are commonly referred to as ‘bad’ cholesterol. Increased LDL and triglyceride levels have been associated with hardened arteries and coronary heart disease.

In contrast, high-density lipoproteins (HDL) are ‘good’ cholesterol and can actually lower the risk of heart disease.

The recent study, published in the September issue of The American Journal of Cardiology, examined the association of soy protein and cholesterol in 41 different studies. The studies were randomized controlled trials conducted from 1982 to 2004 with nearly 1800 participants.

The result revealed a significant reduction in mean total cholesterol (-5.26mg/dL) as well as LDL cholesterol (-4.25mg/dL) and triglycerides (-6.25mg/dL). A marked increased in HDL cholesterol (0.77mg/dL) was also noted.

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The authors note that the study supports the benefit of soy for the prevention and treatment of high blood cholesterol levels. Replacing foods that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol with soy foods, such as tofu, and soy milk and shakes, can help cardiovascular health.

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