Ankeny, Iowa, July 10, 2014—Most American women already know that soyfoods are versatile ingredients that provide high-quality protein without adding cholesterol to the diet. Now there are even more reasons for women to consider adding soyfoods to the list of foods they love: Soyfoods may lower the risk of several of the leading causes of female deaths in the U.S.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the leading causes of death for women in 2010 were heart disease (23.5%), cancer (22.1%), stroke (6.25%), lower respiratory diseases (5.9%), Alzheimer’s disease (4.7%), unintentional injuries (.6%), diabetes (2.7%), influenza and pneumonia (2.1%), kidney disease (2.1%) and septicemia (1.5%).
Keeping up with research studies can be daunting. That’s why the Soyfoods Council offers the following information from soy expert Mark Messina, Ph.D. He explains several recent studies involving the health benefits of soyfoods. Messina, Executive Director of the Soy Nutrition Institute, shares details about soy as it relates to five of the ten leading causes of death for women: heart disease, stroke, cancer, kidney disease and diabetes.
Soyfoods and Heart Disease: Asian middle-aged women who regularly eat soyfoods have been found to be as much as 75% less likely to develop a heart attack. According to this research, just two servings of soyfoods daily appear sufficient to derive protection against heart disease. Western clinical studies provide evidence that soyfoods potentially work through multiple mechanisms to promote heart health.
Soyfoods and Stroke: In a study involving 20,000 Japanese middle-aged women who were followed for a period of approximately 13 years, those who consumed the equivalent of about two servings of soyfoods daily were 65% less likely to have a stroke. Research involving Western women provides a possible explanation for these dramatic benefits. Soy protein directly lowers blood pressure, a risk factor for stroke.
Soyfoods and Cancer: Studies involving Asian women show that soyfood intake is associated with a marked reduced risk of ovarian cancer. Similarly, Asian women who eat soyfoods are less likely to report having breast cancer. Some evidence suggests that to derive this benefit requires consuming soy during childhood and/or adolescence. As little as one serving per day during this period may reduce risk by as much as 25% to 50%. And for women with breast cancer, there is also very encouraging research. Studies involving more than 11,000 breast cancer patients show that women who consume about two servings of soyfoods daily after a diagnosis of their disease are less likely to die from their disease and to suffer a recurrence of their cancer.
Soyfoods and Kidney Disease: For many years, studies have suggested that soy protein may place less stress on the kidneys than animal protein, although evidence is not completely consistent. Most recently, in women at risk of developing chronic kidney disease, after six months of consuming 40 grams of soy flour daily, which provided about 12.8 grams of soy protein, kidney function was significantly better than in women who consumed 40 grams of milk powder. Over time, this benefit may prevent the development of chronic kidney disease.
Soyfoods and Diabetes: People with diabetes are at greatly increased risk of developing both coronary heart disease and renal disease. There is substantial evidence that soyfoods reduce risk of heart disease and intriguing evidence that soy lowers risk of kidney disease. In addition, unlike other beans, soybeans are very low in carbohydrate, as are the traditional soyfoods, so they can help with glycemic control. In fact, there is evidence that independent of their carbohydrate, soyfoods can help to control glucose and insulin levels.
For details about the studies cited by Mark Messina, Ph.D., other information about soyfoods and your health, and easy recipe ideas, visit the Soyfoods Council website at www.thesoyfoodscouncil.com.
About the Soyfoods Council: The Soyfoods Council is a non-profit organization, created and funded by Iowa soybean farmers, providing a complete resource to increase awareness of soyfoods, educate and inform media, healthcare professionals, consumers and the retail and foodservice market about the many benefits of soyfoods. Iowa is the country’s number one grower of soybeans and is the Soyfoods Capital of the world.
About the Role of Soyfoods in a Healthful Diet: Soyfoods have played an important role in Asian cuisines for centuries. In recent years they have become popular in Western countries because of their nutrition and health properties. Soyfoods are excellent sources of high-quality protein and provide a healthy mix of polyunsaturated fat. In addition, independent of their nutrient content, there is very intriguing evidence indicating soyfoods reduce risk of several chronic diseases including coronary heart disease, osteoporosis and certain forms of cancer. All individuals are well advised to eat a couple of servings of soyfoods every day.