For the past 20 years health agencies around the world, including the Food and Drug Administration, have acknowledged the contribution that soyfoods can make to reducing risk of coronary heart disease because soy protein directly lowers blood cholesterol levels.
Research also suggests that soy protein lowers blood pressure although this benefit of soy hasn’t received nearly the attention that the cholesterol-lowering effects of soy protein have. Perhaps this will change with the publication a new statistical analysis of 12 clinical trials involving over 1,500 postmenopausal women.
When all women were included in the analysis, soy protein significantly lowered systolic blood pressure by a little more than 3 points (mmHg) and diastolic blood pressure by about 1 point. However, when the researchers sub-analyzed the results, they found something quite interesting. In those studies that intervened with at least 25 grams of soy protein, systolic blood pressure decreased by almost 5 points and diastolic blood pressure by nearly 2 points. So the key is to consume at least 25 grams of soy protein per day.
Blood pressure is major risk factor for heart attacks and stroke. Reducing blood pressure by the amount that soy protein was found to do in this analysis could potentially reduce risk of developing coronary heart disease and stroke by as much as 10%. Furthermore, the cholesterol-lowering effects of soy protein will provide additional protection against these crippling diseases.