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Soy for a Healthy Heart and Bones

New research from two studies out of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center show that premenopausal women who maintain diets high in soy could have healthier hearts and bones.

Researchers compared total cholesterol levels to high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or good cholesterol levels, in monkeys.

In soy-eating monkeys with increased risk for heart disease, cholesterol levels decreased by 48 percent compared to those that did not eat soy. And cholesterol levels decreased by 33 percent in monkeys with a lower risk of heart disease.

But how do these results relate to premenopausal women? "Studies have shown that heart vessel disease, or atherosclerosis, begins in the 30s and 40s in women," said researcher Jay Kaplan, PhD. "From our work in monkeys, we believe that the time to prevent cardiovascular disease in women is before menopause, not after. Soy seems to provide a potent protection in monkeys, in terms of cholesterol levels, which is a good marker for general cardiovascular risk. We presume the benefit would apply to premenopausal women as well."

A second study showed that soy-eating monkeys had increased bone mass, as well. According to researcher Cynthia Lees, DVM, PhD, this "Suggests the possibility that if women consumed soy on a regular basis before menopause, it could benefit their health after menopause.

Try adding a little more soy to your diet. A variety of foods contain soy, including tofu, tempe, and meatless products with soy substitutes. Soy is also available in supplement form.


Soy could be good for heart/bones of premenopausal women. Newswise. Oct. 1, 2004.

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